More to come?
As Mian Nawaz Sharif runs after red herrings, desertions have started in the PML(N) at the level of senior leadership. These are accompanied by complaints of maltreatment and sidelining of both party workers and seasoned leaders. The largest number of complaints have so far emerged from Punjab which is the stronghold of the PML(N). Before the rise of Imran Khan, the dissidents had no option but to join the PPP which was unacceptable to many on account of traditional rivalries and personal animosities. Now suddenly, they have a third option before them. Tehrik-e-Insaf is likely to turn into a catalytic agent that could hasten the process of the departure of workers and leaders from the PML(N). Among other things, the party opens up more opportunities of a rise in the hierarchy as unlike the PML(N) and PPP leadership does not revolve around a particular dynasty. With mostly new faces in the party, Imran does not have any favourites. One had hoped that Nawaz and Shahbaz would concentrate on removing the inner party differences before doing anything else. Both have however diverted their energies to bring down the PPP government before the March Senate elections. Instead of utilising the parliamentary forum for resolving the issues and criticising the government performance the PML(N) has declared parliament ineffective and has gone to the SC to settle issues with the PPP leadership. Shahbaz is meanwhile resorting to vitriolic speeches against his PPP rivals.
Many had hoped that Javed Hahmi’s sudden and unexpected departure would force the PML(N) leadership to focus on resolving the conflicts in the party. The resignation of veteran PML(N) leader in KP Saranjam Khan and Punjab Vice President Inamullah Niazi indicates this has failed to happen. The former has complained that party veterans were increasingly being sidelined. Niazi has raised his voice against what he calls the continuous humiliations of senior leaders and he has charged that the PML(N) has turned into a pack of conspirators.
PML(N)’s performance in elections would largely depends on its organisational strength. Unless the party is able to infuse confidence among its senior cadre, it might encounter serious setbacks.