PPP tries to steal a march on PDM

But is it really prepared for a show of strength?

The PPP and PML(N) cooperate with each other in Parliament to give a tough time to the PTI, though here too they give primacy to their party interests. Outside the Parliament they are in competition with each other. With their eyes fixed on the coming elections each one follows a strategy that it thinks can bring it to power. The PML(N) is a part of the PDM which has representation from all the provinces with the JUI(F) capable of gathering thousands of seminary students. The PPP can at best rely on the ANP which enjoys limited support in KP and Balochistan. While denouncing the establishment’s role in politics publicly, both the PPP and PML(N) keep discreet contacts with those who matter. The PML(N) and JUI(F), which is its main partner in the PDM, are currently following a soft policy towards the establishment. With the former having displayed its public support in the Punjab bye-elections and the latter in the KP LG polls, both have put the promised march on the backburner to resort to it only if the establishment is seen to be playing foul.

The PPP wants Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to be elected PM in the coming elections. For this it needs support from Punjab which is currently the stronghold of the PML(N). The PPP’s attempts last year to win over electables from South Punjab through wheeling and dealing drew a blank as electables support parties who are likely to win. Major players in South Punjab like Jahangir Tareen remain uncommitted because they are still reading the tea leaves.

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This has led the PPP to put up a show of strength in Punjab. The PPP leadership has once again camped in Lahore. On Friday Mr Bhutto Zardari told leaders of the PPP’s Balochistan chapter that the party is going to form the next government and those keen to fight the coming elections should submit applications to the party. He emphasized that the party’s march on Islamabad starting on February 27 would be an impressive event.

The PPP has taken a risk. In case it manages to hold impressive rallies in major Punjab cities, drawing large crowds from Punjab, it might attract the electables. But if the show turns out to be a run-of-the-mill affair, neither electables nor those who matter would give it importance.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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