The consensus in PML-N

Every war plan looks good  on paper until you meet the enemy

After a series of leadership meetings the PML-N has taken important decisions about its future line of action.  Tentative agreements have been reached on  issues  posing threats to  party unity. The prospect of the opening of  Hudaibiya Paper Mills case has made  Shahbaz Sharif and  Hamza realize that they too could  face disqualification. This seems to have  put curbs on the race for power between the two branches of the Sharif family making consensus building easier.  Instead of rivalry,  solidarity was considered the best way for  self-preservation. It was realized that the PML-N was no more a monolith  and desertions could not be stopped in the presence of  leadership rivalries.

To bring down the level of demoralisation in the party it was decided  that Nawaz Sharif  would himself lead the party into the election fray. The PMLN would compete with, if not outperform the PTI, in holding public meetings. The Abbotabad rally would  be followed by a series of public gatherings addressed by Sharif in KP and Punjab.

To accommodate the doves who are in the same boat with the party hawks after the  prospect of the revival of the Hudaibiya case it was decided to shun direct confrontation with the institutions. It was however noted that the party was within its right to criticize court judgments which it considered unjust without targeting individual judges. Whether  the PML-N leaders who lack the necessary finesse would be able to  negotiate the tight rope walk  remains to be seen.

According to the new consensus Shahbaz Sharif is out of the premiership’s race, for the time being at least. In case the PML-N wins  the election, Nawaz Sharif  will nominate the next Prime Minister. The party would  steer carefully till March to gain decisive majority in the Senate.  It will concentrate on getting the issue of the delimitation of constituencies resolved  with the help of the PPP to hold timely elections. It is hoped that once majority in both the houses is ensured constitutional changes with retrospective effects could bring Nawaz Sharif out of the woods.



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