- Divided they stand as a result
The division started with the failure to choose a joint opposition candidate for the prime minister’s slot. Propriety required that Shahbaz Sharif who was PML-N’s candidate for the office should have personally sought the support of the PPP. Full of himself as he is, Shahbaz didn’t even care to greet Zardari or Bilawal during the first two sittings of the newly elected National Assembly. This was bound to rouse the memories of Shahbaz’s nasty remarks about Zardari when the latter was the president of the country.
One expected however a display of greater maturity by the PPP. This was needed to keep the opposition comprising 11 parties united. The PPP leadership should have supported the PML-N’s nominee in the larger interest of the opposition unity despite past provocations and the present display of boorishness. This would have in fact raised the image of the PPP as more mature and more capable of consensus building and keeping the opposition alliance together. The PPP knew that its demand that the PML-N nominate someone else was bound to be rejected. What is more it set a bad precedent. The PML-N’s rancour led to the replacement of Sherry Rehman with Raja Zafarul Haq as leader of the opposition in the Senate days after the defeat of Shahbaz Sharif for prime minister’s office in the National Assembly.
Being an outstanding lawyer with a long parliamentary career Aitzaz Ahsan was head and shoulders above other aspirants for the presidency. The PPP took a misstep by unilaterally announcing his candidature without prior consultation with the opposition. This was an act of injustice to the candidate for there could have been a possibility of an agreement on his name by most of the opposition parties, forcing the PML-N to accept the decision or stand isolated. Failure to take the opposition onboard helped the PML-N to pay the PPP in the same coin by asking to nominate anyone else. When the PPP refused to oblige, JUI-F’s Fazlur Rehman was nominated by the rest of the opposition as their nominee. Thanks the lack of foresight in the leadership, a strong opposition stands disunited today.