With the Panama verdict leaving a lot of ground for putting the government under pressure, conventional wisdom would declare that the opposition parties band together and target the Prime Minister. For the most part they have done so, collectively asking Nawaz Sharif to step down while the investigation is ongoing and concocting joint strategies for disruption in the parliament. However, this marriage of necessity was over before it truly began. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman Imran Khan traded barbs soon after the opposition got into their drive and now the PTI leader has thrown the gauntlet towards PPP – shifting the sights from the Prime Minister to the leader of the PPP.

This is no ordinary political banter either; speaking at the Sindhi town of Dadu, where Liaquat Jatoi announced he had officially joined PTI, Imran Khan declared Zardari the “the most corrupt man in Pakistan” and promised to personally canvas Sindhi cities to drum up opposition against the “man who ruined PPP”. Somewhere Nawaz Sharif must be smiling, seeing his opponents turn on each other.

While this move certainly appears to be bad strategy to get the Prime Minister to step down, as diluting pressure by picking multiple targets will allow the ruling party to consolidate, but from the PTI’s perspective targeting the PPP makes sense. The general election is 11 months away and anything and everything said by political parties at this time is with that election in mind. PTI’s road to a strong electoral performance does not only mean opposing the PML-N but also siphoning votes and seats from the PPP too. Even more important than that is the image of the party and Imran Khan himself. Being a corruption crusader requires you to go after everyone, and targeting Asif Ali Zardari is necessary to maintain that image.