Opposition's poor show in Lahore has in fact strengthened Sharif

The defining and changing realities of the political landscape are actually not read well by both Imran and Zardari

2018-01-19T17:47:00+05:00 Imad Zafar

The demonstration from the grand opposition was meant to put pressure on Punjab and Pakistan’s federal government to resign and dissolve the assemblies. The gang of three, Tahirul Qadri, Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari accompanied by the likes of Sheikh Rasheed and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi were expected to bring large numbers of supporters. Contrary to that the people did not turn out in numbers. It was a poor show of strength and the PTI, PAT and PPP were not able to mobilise the masses.

This miserable show has strengthened the PML-N government in all ways and has also established the fact that the masses are no longer interested in mere sloganeering and agitation. The defining and changing realities of the political landscape are actually not read well by both Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari. The age of toppling governments with the help of invisible forces and by exploiting the masses in the name of religion or by conducting politics on dead bodies is over. With the increase in awareness and the free flow of information it is almost impossible to enact politics of the era of the '90s.

The empty chairs and lack of spirit among the participants of the demonstration was a sign that even the diehard fans of Mr Khan and the blind religious followers of Mr Qadri are tired of this same routine of agitations and sit-ins. The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on the other hand also once again proved that it has been routed out of the province of Punjab. The frustration was evident from the abusive language used by the leaders present onstage. By abusing others Imran Khan damaged his democratic credentials and it became evident that he is actually frustrated over the fact he will not be able to topple the Sharif government.

For Sharif and the ruling party, this poor show from the opposition has strengthened them and it seems they will somehow survive until the next general election. The blunders from the opposition have given them a new lease of life. The picture has become very clear now; it will be Sharif vs the rest in the general elections and with his strong political fort of Punjab still intact Sharif is all set to emerge the winner again. How Lahore has rejected the political vultures who were trying to cash in by conducting politics on the dead bodies of the Model Town massacre and the child brutally raped in Kasur, is evident in this regard.

The opposition actually seems to be a bunch of opportunists who have somehow joined hands together to topple Sharif and in return hope to get a big share of the cake. As far as Qadri is concerned he is not interested in elections as he knows he cannot even win a single seat of assembly through the elections. Contrary to Qadri, both Mr Khan and Zardari are double minded, they need assurances from the invisible forces that if elections are not held and a much discussed technocrat setup somehow is installed, they will get a good share out of it. On the other hand they also both do not want to put all their cards in the invisible basket and are preparing for a fight if elections are held.

One wonders what makes Mr Khan and Mr Zardari believe that elections will not be held or if they are held that invisible forces will give them the advantage over Sharif. It is not rocket science and needs only common sense to understand that even the invisible forces are not going to win them elections. Mr Khan had the backing of these forces in the previous general elections of 2013 and with all the support he had, he was only able to win around 28 national assembly seats. If he could not win when he was in the prime of his political career then for sure he cannot win it now when the voters of Punjab are showing resentment against him and the invisible forces. The more he speaks the more he abuses and eventually loses sympathy of the vote bank in Punjab. Asif Zardari’s case is different, he knows that he and his party have no scope in Punjab so he is trying to play the role of spoiler by backing the invisible forces to gain his political fort of Sindh. Zardari has not been able to understand that the forces who are trying to remove Sharif from politics will not spare him either.

Sharif has always benefited from the mistakes of his opponents and it seems that his opponents are in no mood to avoid the path of self destruction. Only an immature politician like Imran Khan can join hands with a dead political force like the PPP and PAT. Both Zardari and Qadri need media attention and on the ground activity in Punjab but it is not the case with Imran Khan. He should have focused his energies on making his party’s grass root structure strong so he can at least put a fight to Sharif in the upcoming elections. His arrogance and unwise moves have clearly deprived him of even this opportunity as well. It is indeed not good for the democracy that Sharif is left virtually with no opposition. There is currently no one in politics who can challenge his constituencies in Punjab. Hopefully one day Mr Khan will do some soul searching and will find that it was his impatience and dependence on the invisible forces that actually dented all his chances of winning the general election.

After watching empty chairs in the recent demonstration of Mr Khan and company, it seems evident that Khan has gone with the wind and badly needs to focus on the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to make sure he does not lose his fort in the upcoming elections. As far as Qadri is concerned he is a vulture who seeks dead bodies to stay relevant in the corridors of power. The game is certainly far from over and invisible forces will come up with new moves to oust Sharif and negate the possibility of the next general election, but right now it is the gang of three (Khan, Tahir-ul-Qadri and Zardari) who seem to be on the backfoot and have simply lost the battle against Sharif.

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