New signs of unity within the PMLN could help the party survive attempts to splinter it
After a two-month split, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) family has finally decided to get back together and save the party from scattering. Maryam Nawaz Sharif called on “uncle” Shahbaz Sharif for “a cup of tea” and was photographed sitting next to Hamza Shahbaz while he expounded on the wisdom of not taking on the “institutions.” Two months ago, Hamza didn’t campaign for the NA-120 seat contested by his aunt Kulsoom Nawaz and fled abroad as Maryam proceeded to turn the campaign into a diatribe against the “powers that be.”
Clearly, PMLN party chief Nawaz Sharif is backing off from rebellion after taking pulse of his still-ruling party. Defiance has not paid off for the government of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and the ministers who began by bucking the establishment are now singing much softer tunes of “being on the same page.” Maryam’s aggression during the NA-120 campaign was regarded critically by party leaders standing behind the elder brother while his tiff with the younger brother was developing. The past pattern of intra-party division of power has always been in favor of the elder brother because of the hands-on administration of the younger brother who wouldn’t give much time to partymen with “urgent constituency concerns.”
With corruption trials ongoing against the Sharif clan the prospects of a rebellion are not bright especially given the fact that the opposition, far from lending a hand, is working in tandem with the negative forces to make the PMLN splinter in its bastion of Punjab. It appears that the pro-Nawaz PMLN veterans have inclined in favor of realism and have advised the ousted prime minister to trim his sail to the winds blowing against the party. The latest party rebellion in South Punjab has cropped up in the person of PMLN senator Zulfiqar Khan Khosa who warmly embraced visiting PPP elder statesman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday, complaining of maltreatment at the hands of Nawaz Sharif.