Time for PML(N) soul-searching

After the setback in Punjab, the party must do a rethink on the run

The PML(N) as a party seems the only left with nothing to do after the crushing defeat doled out to it when Ch Pervez Elahi succeeded in obtaining a vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly on late Wednesday night. Ch Pervez and his PML(Q) was left to consider how to use the new lease of life it had got from the Lahore High Court, at least until later in the year, either to give the country’s largest province the good and effective governance it craves, or whether it would opt to help the PTI dissolve it (and the KP Assembly|). The PTI has got to work out whether such a dissolution will help it get the early dissolution of the other two provincial assemblies and the National Assembly that is the motive behind the move. The PPP has been left to consider whether Co-Chairman Asif Zardari had overreached himself in promising to keep enough PTI MPAs away from the vote of confidence, and what that overreach might mean for the party’s election prospects in a province where it was almost wiped out in the last general election. However, the party which has been the worst mauled, the one in most need of the deepest soul-searching, is the PML(N).

Now more than ever before does it seem that the decision to join the coalition to oust PTI chief Imran Khan as PM may not have been the right one. The move may have benefited PML(N) President Mian Shehbaz Sharif, who has become PM, but the flipside is that the PML(N) has had to take responsibility for turning around the economy that the PTI had allegedly wrecked; and the economy has not just refused to turn around, but has grown worse. The PML(N) has not been helped by its replacement of Miftah Ismail as Finance Minister by Ishaq Dar, and the very public spat between the two.

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All in all, a pretty collection of problems to confront Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, who has been made Chief Organizer of the party. Worse, she does not have the luxury of time, This is going to be an election year and these problems must be fixed by the time the party begins to campaign, which means before it finalizes tickets. Even now, it may be too late to get the party into election mode.

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


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