Fissures within PDM suggest huge challenges for alliance’s fate | Pakistan Today

Fissures within PDM suggest huge challenges for alliance’s fate

–PML-N groups to protest anti-army narrative of Nawaz Sharif

–Military leadership unhappy over dragging of state institutions into political rivalries

ISLAMABAD: Fissures have started to emerge within the ranks opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), as Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has distanced himself from the narrative that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is against army leadership.

The speech made by Nawaz Sharif in PDM’s Gujranwala rally has also sent ripples across the party ranks as the party’s biggest group has raised concerns over its anti-army stance. Its leaders have started contacting each other to craft a new strategy to deal with the matter urgently.

Sources within the PML-N have said that the pro-establishment group within the PML-N ranks, including senior members, have expressed reservations over the tirade of Nawaz’s remarks against the army leadership. Furthermore, they are soon planning on holding a meeting of likeminded colleagues in this regard.

The group of disgruntled PML-N members is led by Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Chaudhry Tanveer Hussain and others.

“In this regard, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has also started contacting the party colleagues and he may also attend the meeting being discussed between the party’s senior cadre,” a source privy to the details of the conversations revealed.

PML-N members are upset that they were bypassed and ignored by the party’s leadership in the content of the speech, and they felt that the party did not need to target the top military leadership.

The senior party leaders say that the party had already decided that the PML-N leaders should target Prime Minister Imran Khan. But they say that the party’s top leadership shifted the target from Imran to Army leadership in violation of the agreed decision.

Meanwhile, the military leadership has also raised its concerns over Nawaz’s words. They have said that the “emerging trend” of “targeting the state institutions” is totally uncalled for. The military spokespersons have previously said as well that the armed forces have nothing to do with any political process in the country.

“How a convicted proclaimed offender while illegally sitting in London is commenting on armed forces of Pakistan which are guarantor of peace and stability in the country and who have laid down thousands of lives in defending the motherland,” a senior security official told this scribe.

“Even at a time when Nawaz Sharif was using derogatory language against Pakistan Army in Gujranwala, funeral prayers of 20 of its valiant soldiers were being offered, who had embraced martyrdom in separate incidents of terrorism in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP),” the officials argued.

Criticising the insulting narrative about the army, the official warned that the PML-N leadership must not indulge in dangerous games of the behest of the enemies of the country as their agenda is doomed to fail.

He said that the PML-N is trying to create divisions and clash between higher ranked and lower ranked officials of Pakistan Army as well as between different state institutions, adding that this outcome was in complete conformity with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda.

The official added that the opposition has the right to protest in a democracy but the nefarious agenda of maligning the national institutions cannot be tolerated at any cost.

The official further said that those politicians hatching a conspiracy against the armed forces of Pakistan cannot be the well-wishers of the country, adding that the 220 million Pakistanis stand by their armed forces.

“Nawaz Sharif’s attack on military leadership is in fact attack on the Pakistan Army. This is the same thing Narendra Modi is talking about,” he said.

“Indian newspapers are praising Nawaz Sharif and giving extraordinary coverage to his anti-army statements. PML-N’s agenda is gradually coming before the masses. Nawaz Sharif is playing in the hands of the enemies of Pakistan,” lamented the official.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]