PML-N leadership rift

A row between Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to gain the reigns of the PML-N is not unexpected. Both have been embroiled in a tussle ever since Nawaz Sharif left for London and placed the party in a quandary from which it has been unable to recover.

The PML-N had a dismal performance in the recently-held Azad Kashmir elections. It managed to secure only six seats, failing even behind the PPP and was placed third. Its numbers have delved in the Senate and it even lost the recent Sialkot by-elections. Shehbaz Sharif, who was conspicuously absent during AJK poll campaigning, has blamed the party for the debacle and for not following his election strategy.

There has been intense speculation whether Shehbaz would resign as PML-N President. He has denied reports but being sidelined shows the rift within the party. The PML-N had a fallout ever since its defeat in 2018 general elections and Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal as prime minister after which he went on a smear campaign against state institutions. Shehbaz has now claimed his brother would have been elected prime minister for the fourth time if they had reached a strategy based on consensus before the polls.

Shehbaz’s revelation also shows the PML-N was disunited before the elections despite being in power. Many top leaders such as Chaudhry Nisar were out and even Nawaz Sharif resorted to rhetoric against state institutions. After being unable to receive the support given instead to Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif preferred to leave the country. The disunited opposition had not been able to pose a serious challenge for the PTI government ever since.

PML-N stalwart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi believes the party did not have any role in its defeat in the elections. He refuted Shehbaz’s claims and instead proposed setting up a truth commission to reveal the real facts. This defiance of the party president is another indication that the PML-N is divided or rather Abbasi had been forwarding Maryam’s narrative. The PML-N is making attempts to revive its lost glory after the recent election losses. The party needs to put its house in order before it forms a coherent strategy before the next election.

Download MM News mobile application and keep yourself updated.