While the opposition parties frequently work together in Parliament, the knives are out when they go into public. The PPP and PML(N) attack each other most viciously, even calling into question each other’s integrity, forgetting that this might stand in their way if required by circumstances they have to start an anti-government movement. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has attributed motives to the PML(N) for not supporting his suggestion of a no-confidence move in Punjab. Responding to the charge, the PML(N) and JUI(F) have accused the PPP of acting in connivance with the establishment to break up the PDM. With just two years left for the next elections, a mudfest continues between the PPP and the PDM which is a reflection on the maturity of the opposition.
Once they joined the PDM it was unrealistic to expect that the opposition parties not to express their differences in public. After all, each party has its own manifesto and they are going to contest at places against each other in the next elections. One expects however that they would avoid acting at cross purposes, desist from making secret deals with those in the government camp and shun creating divisions within other opposition parties
As things stand, the PPP follows a clearly spelt-out policy, irrespective of whether it helps it to achieve the stated goal of forming its government at the centre. The PPP has consolidated its position in rural Sindh and after winning a National Assembly seat from Karachi in a recent by-poll it feels confident about making further inroads in the provincial metropolis. Punjab remains the PPP’s Achilles heel. It hopes however to win over some of the electables from South Punjab. According to the PPP’s calculations, the next elections would produce a hung parliament, providing it a chance to form the government through alliances with disparate groups as it did in 2008.
The divisions within the PML(N) are likely to damage its electoral prospects if not resolved at the earliest. These have affected the PDM also which works now by fits and starts. Lately it has issued a plan for a mass contact campaign during the rest of the year. Unless the PML(N) resolves its dissensions and the PPP and ANP return to the PDM, the PTI might win by default.