Unlike parties like PTI and MQM, PML-N’s strength has always been the unwavering loyalty of its members. Yet, since last year, cracks began to appear on the surface of its united front, when long-time loyalist Chaudhry Nisar seemed to distance himself from the party and criticised its leadership. Yesterday, Zaeem Qadri appeared to be the next prominent mutineer, when he held a press conference addressing his grievances against the party.

It is difficult to ascertain for sure what is behind Qadri’s rebellion. His remarks about Lahore being the fiefdom of a man and his sons, and his assertion that he would not “polish Hamza Shahbaz’s boots” imply that Qadri may have deeper problems with the power structure of the party in Punjab. Previous remarks by PML-N leaders have also contributed to the rumour that there is sentiment among old PML-N workers against the young leaders of PML-N like Maryam and Hamza.

More likely though, Qadri’s grievances stem from the PML-N lists of candidates awarded with tickets, which has been harshly criticised for ignoring party loyalists and giving favour to family members of party leaders instead. Qadri’s outburst may just be the first of the many dominos that fall, if the PML-N does not take measures to address the rightful grievances of old party workers who were not rewarded for their efforts.

One thing is for sure, if Zaeem Qadri departs from the party, it will be a fatal blow for PML-N and a huge loss for the party. Zaeem Qadri is one of the few PML-N politicians who stayed loyal to Nawaz Sharif in the face of suppression during Musharraf’s rule. In its quest for civil supremacy and vote ki izzat, PML-N should not forget those that earns it its votes; its loyal workers.