The efforts to revive the PDM, now being spearheaded by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, are as expected not making any headway. The PPP and ANP, who were expelled from the anti-government alliance, are also not eager to join anytime soon, rendering the alliance completely ineffective.
Shehbaz Sharif attended his first PDM meeting last week and set on a mission to revive the alliance, saying that no single party has the right to dictate the alliance. The PDM has restarted its rhetoric as it rejected the electoral reforms and will start protests from July before staging a massive show of power on Independence Day. However, no decision has been made to allow the PPP and ANP from rejoining the alliance.
Shehbaz wants the major political parties to return but is facing resistance from Maryam and the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. In fact, the topic did not even come up for discussion during a recent meeting. Shehbaz wants all opposition leaders to unite again to give the government a tough time in passing the upcoming budget but the infighting will certainly hamper such plans.
The PPP and ANP have instead decided to launch their own campaigns, calling the PDM parties confused and deflecting from the ‘action plan’ devised against the government. It is unlikely that a divided opposition will have any significant impact. The alliance lost steam after the Senate elections and the failure to oust the prime minister and is now struggling to find relevance.
The focus is shifting on Nawaz Sharif who is suggesting a ‘grand dialogue’ with all stakeholders in efforts to gain leverage before the next elections. The PML-N is frustrated with its efforts of being unable to resist Imran Khan’s government and cannot bear to remain in opposition for another term. Besides a few wins in the by-elections, the PML-N is unlikely to return to power until it repairs the cracks with the party or reaches reconciliation.
The PML-N is a state of confusion which has confounded the PDM. The Sharif brothers are not on the same page as Nawaz wants a confrontation while Shehbaz remains a pacifist. The PDM must adopt a clear strategy if it wants to continue its movement. For now, the PDM is a dead horse and efforts to revive the alliance are unlikely to make any difference.