Former General Abdul Qayyum’s joining of the PML-N indicates that the party and its leadership are willing to revisit its relations with the army as an institution. Starting with Gen Pervez Musharraf’s ouster of Nawaz-led PML elected government on October 12, 1999, the animosity seems to have dissipated somewhat. Mian Nawaz Sharif’s welcoming the statement of General Kayani regarding withdrawal of troops from Siachen was yet another indicator. Addressing the press conference on the occasion of Gen (retd) Qayyum, Mian Nawaz observed that generals are patriots and not everyone is Pervez Musharraf. It is good to see that PML leadership is now taking back into the fold those who parted ways during the turbulent days. Many a leader like Marvi Memon and Tariq Azim are already back in the PML-N camp. And now is the time that Mian Nawaz Sharif should open his heart and welcome other party stalwarts who had joined hands with Gen Musharraf.

Reports suggest that there have been recent contacts between Ishaq Dar, Ch Nisar and Ch Shujaat Hussain and Ch Pervaiz Elahi. Political circles promoting re-unification of all factions of the Pakistan Muslim League are optimistic about the outcome of these contacts. In the past, such efforts could not succeed despite best efforts by late Pir of Pagaro and Mir Zafarullah Jamali. It would be wise not to let this opportunity slip because a single unified Muslim League would be a force to reckon with and would also be able to defeat its strongest opponents. Will Nawaz Sharif grab this opportunity is anybody’s guess.