LAHORE -  The PPP which had supported the ruling PML-N at the time of 2014 sit-in is not siding with it now in the wake of latter’s troubles emanating from the Panama case.

For many political observers, PPP Senator Rehman Malik’s appearance before the JIT to testify against the Sharif family has marked the end of reconciliation between the two parties. Three years on since the PTI’s Islamabad sit-in when the government’s fall seemed imminent, analysts still believe it was the PPP which averted an otherwise inevitable political crisis in the country.

But the PPP is not supporting the government in the present situation. It would be happy if the sitting prime minister is shown the door by disqualification by the court. Perhaps it views the two situations differently.

In August, 2014, the PTI supporters and activists remained in front of the Parliament building for around four months demanding fresh elections in the country. Before it, the PTI had rejected the 2013 election results leveling charges of rigging and sought recounting of votes in at least four constituencies. Since the government did not accept its demand, all the PTI lawmakers had tendered resignations from their respective assemblies and joined the sit-in. 

Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Allama Tahirul Qadri and Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed also supported the PTI in that situation. PPP, however, went against the tide to save the government at that time.

It is June 2017 now and the PPP has no love lost for the PML-N it had supported three years ago. Why? The Nation talked to PPP’s central Information Secretary Ch Manzoor Ahmad to know the reason.

 “In 2014, an institution [Parliament] was under attack [by the undemocratic forces], and the PPP came forward to defend a main pillar of democracy. Now, another institution, [Judiciary] is under attack, and this time none else but from the government itself. The PPP feels duty-bound to protect this institution also,” he told this paper.

Ch Manzoor further stated that one should not draw a parallel between the political situation at the time of 2014 sit-in and the present one which he said was all about accountability of the ruling party. He stressed that it was wrong to say that PPP had supported the government in 2014. “We had defended the Parliament which is the mother of all institutions,” he averred.  

He also said the process of accountability should not stop and all those whose names had appeared in the Panama Papers must be held accountable.

The PPP spokesperson expressed his displeasure over the derogatory remarks of the PML-N leaders against the Supreme Court-formed JIT investigating the money trail of Sharif family’s assets. He reiterated his party’s stance that PPP would stand by the institutions if the government tried to attack any of these.

Asked if the political system was in danger at the moment, the PPP leader said it was always in danger in a country like Pakistan. He added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also become a threat to the system since he was trying to browbeat the judiciary. He, however, made it clear that PPP would stand with the government if an attempt is made to topple it through unconstitutional means.