It appears that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is gearing up to abandon its conciliatory approach towards national politics in favour of taking on the role of an aggressive opposition party. There are several factors which may explain the change of mood in PPP circles. Currently, the PPP is largely perceived to be friendly with the ruling PML-N. Such a perception is proving detrimental for the party’s popularity, nowhere more than in the Punjab where the PTI, PML-Q and Qadri’s PAT are running an aggressive campaign against the government. It was wiped out from the most populated province during the last elections, and sitting idle on the sidelines is not going to help it make a comeback. For that, it must join the game and appear active, making demands and moves of it owns, trading jabs with the government.

The PPP Punjab chapter isn’t quite happy with the Sindh-based leadership either. There are certain reports which suggest that cracks have begun to appear between the party. Punjab-based politicians, led by former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, are growing impatient and holding meetings of their own to which those deemed close to Asif Ali Zardari are not invited. Moreover, reopening of corruption cases against Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Amin Fahim are being viewed as political victimisation carried out with the blessings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And then there is the matter of appointment of IG Police Sindh. The PPP is not so pleased with the federal government’s keen interest in the ongoing Karachi Operation. After all, it is the PPP which has to ultimately live and deal with the MQM. It is unwilling to allow any more intrusion by the federal government as is evident from the growing hostility in the tone of Sindh provincial ministers. Put all of this together and Zardari calling Nawaz a “monarch” and suddenly speaking favourably towards the PTI’s demand of voter verification and Azadi March begins to make sense. The PML-N needs to be put in its place and the PPP wants to play its part in ensuring that. This is why former governor Latif Khosa can only answer after “consulting with the party”, instead of rejecting it as one may have expected only a month back, when asked about PTI’s invitation to PPP for the Azadi March. The party doesn’t appear averse to mid-term elections either.

While the PPP may be doing all it needs to do for political purposes, there should be no doubt the PML-N government isn’t entirely deserving of friendly opposition. It is partially responsible for the current political turmoil in the country which will most likely only grow worse in coming days. It has refused to engage with political opponents, and insists on being left alone for the next four years. You just can’t run a democratic government like that.