Hassan Naqvi

The arrival of President Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore, Punjab, has aroused the insatiable curiosity of many as to what may be up his sleeve, and his code of conduct now holds the unrelenting attention of his detractors, and the nation at large. The President seems to have landed with a strong view of reviving the sagging fortunes of his party in the province, which once was a stronghold of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The President held meetings with the PPP MPAs from Punjab at the Governor’s House. He has, reportedly, been briefed on different problems by his MPAs and has issued directives to resolve party issues.

It is the first visit of President Zardari after the Senate elections in March, in which the PPP-backed candidate from Punjab, Aslam Gill, was defeated. And this would be the third visit to the city since becoming President.

The inching of President towards Punjab lately suggests that something may have gone awry in the working of Pakistan’s largest political party. Apparently, the President has been around to meet his MPAs and other members of the party residing in Lahore and Punjab.

Meanwhile, the opposition is keenly fishing to determine the other motives of his arrival. Lately, Imran Khan, a thorn in the flesh of his opponents, has been gaining popularity with every sunrise. Bevy of youth seems to be following Mr Khan without any shred of doubt. His political rallies have been major successes, drawing large number of crowds, from the left, right and centre. Emerging new slogans of bringing “change” in country and unmasking the parasites seem to be of great interest to our youth. This has shattered the PPP’s vague and blurry promises and thus bringing it to an unprecedented low in its popularity.

On the other hand, the PML-N seems threatened in its own den. The blazing laptop scheme was efficaciously effective in retaining its position rather going down to square one. A huge amount of laptops being distributed to the students on merit not only encouraged the working spirit in students, but also embedded a living soul into its supporters. The new vibe of fortune was seen and heard very well!

The changing dynamics of the political scenario must have given sleepless nights to our President, who flew down into the lion’s den. Earlier, an age-old rivalry was playing itself out at its worst between the two largest parties of our country, but with the arrival of “tsunami Khan” the political calculus seems to have changed. It is now being perceived that the third emerging group can affect the lion’s den, giving the share of advantage to the ruling party. Although it is too early to make any sound forecasts, things look quite obvious to the common man. Fairly speaking, the Peoples Party has lost its grip on Punjab, and the President is all set to spill new plans to tighten its oars and to regain PPP’s popularity. If the basic issues such as loadshedding are paid some attention, it can earn a lot of following to Peoples Party.

All the eyes are wide open to witness new tricks that the President can play in the rapidly changing political world. According to previous records, PPP gains 32-33 percent of votes from the Punjab; it remains to be seen whether the percentage experiences new highs or lows. It also remains to be seen how and what sort of olive branches are extended by the President to his opponents, and whether or not they would reciprocate to stave off Mr Khan’s tsunami.

n    The writer is a journalist based in Lahore.

    Email: shrnaqvi3@gmail.com

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