What PML-N expect in return for its unpopular decision

What PML-N expect in return for its unpopular decision

PML-N is the party of power not of resistance and defiance

The PML-N leadership acknowledges the backlash and anger it received from rank and file and social media activists on the decision to provide unconditional support to army chiefs extension.  The PML-N leadership accepts that this was deeply unpopular decision as far as middle class educated social media activists are concerned. They even admit in private conversations that they might lose some votes in the next general elections because of this decision.

But the leadership insist that it was necessary to pacify the powers that be and to end the hostility towards the party.  The leadership seems busy spreading the perception and sense that this decision will help to end the hard times for the party. It will bring the party closer to regain the power that it lost to PTI as the result of the intervention of the establishment. 

The leadership has conveyed a clear message to the party leaders in Pakistan that some assurances and promises been made to them by powers that be. The party will get a much needed relieve from NAB actions.  A party leader who met Shahbaz Sharif in London recently said that he (Shahbaz) would return to Pakistan when he was asked by those who mattered here. “And it is matter of a couple of months.

 Some promises are made with the PML-N leadership by the powers that be.
 It will be seen in days to come whether they are kept or not,” he said, claiming that Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman did not vote for the Army Act because the promise with him that the ouster of the Imran Khan government would start in December was not kept, therefore he was not happy. “But he (Fazl) has been given fresh assurances like that to the PML N leadership.” 

In the given scenario, PML-N is expecting some return of the “unconditional support” to amendment which it extended at the cost of die-hard supporters. While this gesture has appeased the power players, rift in the party deepens. Some of its leaders are in trouble for violating the oath they were administered in famous London meeting where the Nawaz Sharif’s decision of unconditional support to the amendment was conveyed under oath and others are in hot waters for abstaining from the vote on the amendment.

PML-N is considering it as the government in waiting. The leadership believes that the utter failure of PTI government to improve the economy and to attract foreign investment has made some room for it to negotiate with powers that be. They are insisting that they grab the opportunity to mend ways with establishment with both hands.

Despite the outcry of social media activists and strong opposition from some journalists and analysts- the traditional support base of PML-N is happy with this development. They believed that PML-N leadership has made a wise decision. 

They want to see PML-N back in power and it bothered them a little that how this power will be obtained. They are not worried about the price that will be paid for power. They will be more than happy to see their party back in power even scarifying its hardcore activists and ideals.

Many on the social media declare this decision as open deviation and betrayal from the ideals of civil supremacy and genuine democracy. They believe that party has taken a big U-turn and buried the slogans of “vote ku Izzat du” (give respect to vote) and civil supremacy. For them this decision is the departure from the politics of defiance and resistance.

Some senior journalists and analysts also reacted strongly against this decision. They supported PML-N and Nawaz Sharif when it came under attack from establishment. They believed that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz would stand before the establishment and fight for civilian supremacy and vote ku Izzat  du. They thought that Nawaz Sharif will take a strong and bold stand on the question of army chief’s extension.

 But their expectations were short lived. The decision of unconditional support for legislation came as a big shock for these pro-democracy journalists. They promoted Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz as icons of civilian supremacy –defiance and anti-establishment resistance. They have been proved wrong.

PML-N is the party of power. It is not a party of resistance and defiance. It always looks towards establishment to make a deal to get power. In its essence- it is a traditional party of capitalists- traders and career seeking middle class politicians who wants to maintain the status-quo. It is not a party of revolution and social change. It has a history of collaboration and appeasement with establishment.

There is huge gap between the thinking of senior party leadership including Sharif family and those who strongly believes in the ideals of civil supremacy and rule of law. The many in the rank and file and social media activists consider this decision as a capitulation and surrender before the powers that be.
But the leadership consider as a smart move to outmaneuver the efforts of PTI government to divide and weaken the PML-N. The ouster of PTI government and regaining the power is the ultimate goal of PML-N leadership and it could not be achieved without the support of powers that be. The message from the leadership is clear. That the ideals and slogans are important but more important is to capture the power. So lets get real and fall in line to get power.    

                                                Khalid Bhatti

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