PML-N feels heat of the moment
LAHORE – The PML-N so far has varied options on the table to face the future pressure from the Opposition and from within the party.
Party sources say that the pressure being built from inside and outside rivals is being felt more on the PML-N government than the party. At present the major pressure is on the Punjab government as it is up against hostile attitude from both sides. Khatme Nabawat issue that had triggered at the Federal level has now squeezed down to Punjab where the N government is grappling with the opponents’ demand for resignation of Chief Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan.
At the moment, the Central government of the PML-N is standing in the middle of many issues. And in case any change comes about in Punjab, the Centre is hard to escape the heat. Punjab is going to be theatre for action by the outside and inside opponents of the party. And the Punjab government so far, is no in mood either to succumb to the demand of resignations or let the opponents stage any protracted protest like dharna in the province.
After resignation of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid, the PML-N government is still presenting explanations for surrendering to the pressure of a religious organization. So it can repeat that episode. However the same religious sentiments the party is facing from within through Pir of Sial Sharif who is holding resignations of at least 16 parliamentarians of the party. By openly announcing resignation at the Khatme Nabuwat Conference at Faisalabad on Sunday, five PML-N parliamentarians have sprung a surprise. Their resignations have not only highlighted cracks in the PML-N but are also being considered strong reply to the Law Minister’s challenge to these members to show their face if they actually had handed over resignations to Peer Hameeduddin Sialvi. The Peer and a number of his followers have announced to quit the PML-N. It is also going to be a threat to the Party votebank which prefers faith in Khatme Nabuwat and respect of the Holy Prophet (SAW) above everything and is open to divide.
Peer of Sial Sharif has also mustered support of other Sajjada Nasheen and Gaddi Nasheen of the province. And their next station is Gujranwala where they are going to announce future line of action at a convention if their demand of Law Minister’s resignation and renewal of his faith is not accepted.
After five resignations, the cleavage in the PML-N is expected to widen if no step to control the damage it adopted. The Party however, still sees a silver lining in the whole episode. First that no resignation has so far has been reached the Speaker at any level to become a genuine threat. Secondly, such elements still exist in the party who can be mobilized to appease the Peer Sahib. And the third, about which the Party sources also indicate, is the Chief Minister himself visiting the abode of Peer Sahib with Rana Sana to cool down the situation and iron out the differences. At the level of the Party, the folly of dealing with a religious matter through political mode is being deeply felt after the Faizababad debacle where the government not only faced a humiliating defeat at the hand of Tehrike Labaike Ya Rasool Allah, but is also living in the fear of action-replay on its part if the main demand of Raja Zafarul Haq report on the controversial constitutional amendment was not made public within a month.
There are also media reports about a group of PML-N members in touch with the PTI to switch over loyalty smelling the N League a sinking ship. The PML-N leadership however vehemently denies these reports.
Party sources say that PML-N President at present in London, is abreast with the movement to movement developments. Nawaz Sharif has set up a committee of the senior party members to reach out the disgruntled Parliamentarians and address their grievances. This committee has set on the business.
The PML-N’s internal stability and unity is being viewed by the political pundits, very vital for the PML-N government, for entering the next election, for the legal cases facing the Sharifs and to keep the party votebank intact. They say at present a good part of burden is on the Central government of the Party. Under Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, it has to take care of the government affairs side by serving the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the limelight after his disqualification to maintain a political space for him against the NAB cases and keep alive his hopes for coming to the parliament again.
On the political side, PAT is moving ahead taking the case of killing of its 14 persons at Model Town against the CM Punjab and the Law Minister. PPP, PTI, PML-Q, PSP and AML have handed down their support to the PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri for the cause of avenging the killing through law or the street power. After release of Justice Najfi’s report on the Model Town carnage, political weight of Dr Qadri has increased manifolds therefore other parties on the opposition side are rubbing shoulders to stand closer to him. These political parties also have their personal motives to stand with the PAT. Among them some can go all out against the government while others have set limits to avoid the skeletons of corruption and abuse of power in their own cupboard from coming to the limelight.
At present Dr Tahirul Qadri is perusing contents of Justice Najfi’s report. Following that he would announce his line of action wherein holding dharna stands as favourable option, which however is not acceptable to the government.
In view of the political pundits, the government on this score, is in wait and see position. If Dr Qadri would manage to create a grand alliance by removing differences and convincing the parties on his back, on a limited agenda, it may be a worry for the government. If that grand alliance came into being and is able to build pressure, then the government may like to wriggle itself out preferably through a political way than a violent after it has experienced the Faizabad. As such the government may go to early election, as already indicated by its ministers, that in view of the pundits, can save the party. As such they visualize the near future very important for political quick developments in the country.