ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed party parliamentarians to start preparations for the next general elections, and engage the voters and supporters in their respective constituencies by holding party conventions and rallies to project the achievements of the government since assuming power in 2013.

The decision to this effect was taken after detailed discussions and deliberations on the overall political situation in the country, especially the impact of Panama leaks on the future of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), a source in the party informed The Nation on Sunday.

Though there was no formal announcement in this connection but all the party parliamentarians were passed these directions of the prime minister to engage in activities of mobilising the electorate in their respective areas.

A senior PML-N leader, when approached, said that the political worker would remain in the preparation mode for the elections, and he saw nothing strange in holding public rallies and conventions by the party as it was part and parcel of political parties’ routine activities.

He, however, admitted an impetus in such activities and said that as the party would be completing its five-year mandated term early next year, so not only the PML-N but all the other political parties were also in election mode and were engaging electorate in their respective areas.

Sources in the PML-N said that the party leadership was quite optimistic about the favourable court verdict in Panama leaks case but at the same time was worried about the damage the party was suffering due to extensive media campaign against the government on the issue.

The activation of party leadership to engage the party workers and public at large at grass-roots level was actually meant to ward off the negative propaganda against the party on Panama leaks issue, the sources explained.

Another insider in the party said that in the recently organised survey through a reputed organisation the ruling PML-N came to know the decline in the popularity graph of the party and the growing negative perception of general public against the Sharif family over Panama issue.

These sources said that to counter this negative perception against the ruling PML-N it was decided to project the party’s public image for which a multi-pronged strategy was prepared and mobilising general public is one part.

On media front, the party was already busy projecting the mega development projects launched by the PML-N government across the country and their claim to end load-shedding before the culmination of their mandated term through advertisements in both print and electronic media.

Similarly, Sharif has also stepped up his activities and was inaugurating development projects on quite frequent pace just to bury the negativities associated with him and his family members under these mega projects and to make the people of the country believe that he was the one who could resolve the problems facing the country, a political analyst said.

Sources in the government said that as they were anticipating that the Panama leaks issue would further linger in case of formation of judicial commission to probe the matter, so the media bashing of the ruling PML-N would continue till the outcome of the case, so the government really needed to counter it by launching the public mobilisation campaign.

Sources said that in case of formation of judicial commission for Panama leaks probe, which seemed imminent, the case would linger for another few months and during that period, if the government would not come up with robust response to the negative propaganda of opposition on the issue, the party’s image would be greatly tarnished, which would definitely affect the performance of the party in the next general elections.

So in the given circumstances the party leadership had decided to give tacit direction to all the party MPs to mobilise the party’s activities in shape of holding party conventions, rallies and other activities to keep them aligned and prepared for the next general elections, the sources added.




Nawaz directs party MPs to gear up for poll prep