By Marwa Mehboob.
In the political realm of Pakistan, the current crisis engulfing almost all the major stakeholders of the country has paralysed the government raising many questions regarding the future of Pakistan’s democratic culture. PML N which remains the main political entity in the Punjab after their win in NA 120 constituency has been given a tough contest by PTI’s Dr. Yasmin Rashid and PTI has undoubtedly emerged as a second largest Political party in Punjab. After the NA 120 elections the vote bank of PPP in Punjab has been very much exposed thus paving the way for yet another tough contest between PML-N and PTI in next general Elections, 2018.
Under the prevailing circumstances where PPP has not been able to draw its electoral support from central Punjab we have to see, what would be the Party’s future strategy in order to sustain its credibility which is much attached to the legacy of Bhuttoism. At the present PPP faces issues like corruption, at a time when they need solid, grounded leadership more than ever so as to manage and build a new democratic, vibrant, confident and progressive Pakistan. This equation would not be easily achievable for a party who is under the rule of a most controversial figure Asif Ali Zardari.
Recent statement from the former President Gen Pervez Musharraf came as a surprise when he said that the main individual who was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was no other than Asif Ali Zardari. Such a statement coming right before 2018 general elections shall further intensify its impact on the affiliations and sympathies attached to Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Exceptionally speaking of Benazir Bhutto’s only son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who was barely 19 when he inherited a role in a dynasty and took over her position as chairman of the PPP soon after her assassination. This time as we witness number of people who have their names in the list of corruption Mafia, would make a difficult journey to the PM House and for PPP and specially Bilawal Bhutto to inspire party workers ahead of the elections will not be an easy task.
PTI, who is making all out efforts to strengthen their position before 2018 General Elections has still a long way to go as the chairman Imran Khan faces court hearings over contempt of court. PML N is not leaving any stone unturned in order to create obstacles for Imran Khan and further leading for his disqualification. This would not be easy for the opponents considering that Imran Khan is not facing any case relating to money laundering and corruption which could disqualify him from contesting elections. The internal rifts in PTI related to the nomination of opposition leader can ignite issues which could create problems for the chairman Imran Khan. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Party’s Vice-Chairman and who was likely candidate for leader of the opposition has not been able to get much support from PTI’s MNAs. Now, the party which is playing on almost all the fronts needs to be steadfast leaving behind all such elements which may hinder the process of establishing smooth party position before 2018 elections. This is also in relation with the reconciliation strategy by PTI in terms of MQM-P. PTI should take advantage of the situation where MQM and PPP are not sharing good notes and should enable their party to muster much support. As the fact remains there that MQM is one of the few political forces in Pakistan whose leadership is not made up of the political elite and several MQM leaders belong to the middle and lower-middle classes which carries a deep impact on the people belonging to such class. This nature of assistance would definitely be an edge for PTI who is looking forward to break the PPP stronghold in the province.
Considering the results of NA 120 constituency, analysts predict of a nail biting contest between the two parties in elections 2018. It seems that after Panama decision both, the parties PML-N and main challenging opposition PTI will knock every possible door to gain victory. The election year 2018 will be the test of political maturity not only from the major Political parties but also from political forces like ANP, JI, JUI F as their alliance would have a significant and long lasting effect on the future democratic stability of the country. Here we cannot ignore the fact that the role of an independent judiciary, stable Civil – Military relations and autonomous ECP will certainly be the defining factors in 2018 Elections.
Marwah Mehboob writes on social and political issues and is a media analyst. She can be reached at Twitter; @marwahmehboob