The initially sturdy and very unified Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) seems to be going through a vicissitude from a brawny structure to a gradually disarraying body. All of this disarrangement is brought upon PDM by its very own trailblazer Nawaz Sharif. He had formally started PDM by a speech from London via video link in which he aggressively lashed out at Pakistan’s army for uninterrupted involvement in politics.
He did not back off from his Anti-military stance despite extreme opposition from the government. He followed pursuit even in the speeches he made afterwards. Even his daughter Maryam Nawaz has been an obedient little daughter and followed on daddy’s footsteps. The hostile remarks of Nawaz Sharif towards military were not really responded by any major PDM leaders. They stayed quiet and neutral about this whole situation.
Then came former Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq who made a very contentious statement towards the whole Abhinandan situation. He exuded his views regarding that incident saying that the PTI government released Abhinandan only under the fear of Indian government. He challenged the valor and achievement of Pakistan Army for bringing down the Indian Pilot. Another addition to the Anti-military statements by a PML-N leader further deteriorated PML-N’s image in the country and among ministers and party leaders.
Initially, PDM leaders did not support or oppose the Anti-military sentiments of Nawaz Sharif. However, a recent interview given by Bilawal Bhutto to BBC has set controversy in the media as well as for the future of PDM. He finally broke silence on Nawaz Sharif’s speech in the Gujranwala Jalsa in an interview given on Friday 6th November 2020 to BBC. He said that he was totally shocked when he heard PML-N’s supremo Nawaz Sharif’s speech in which he named Pakistan’s top military leadership for orchestrating his ouster among other things.
In his speech, which was aired via video link from London, Nawaz Sharif had questioned who made the “state above a state” and who was responsible for the two governments in this country, going on to name Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He had also named Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as being behind everything. His direct and public lashing out towards a national security institution had earned him domestic as well as international condemnation.
Bilawal Bhutto went onto say that neither Nawaz Sharif nor PML-N brought up naming ISI or army chiefs when the PDM’s agenda was being prepared. He also regarded the mentioning of army and intelligence chief’s names as the “personal decision” of Nawaz Sharif and his party. But isn’t an alliance supposed to be united and fully involved in the decisions they take? Shouldn’t the other parties in the alliance have been consulted on such a serious matter such as publicly humiliating military in a speech?
Although Bilawal Bhutto expressed shock and dismay at the mentioning of army in PML-N leader’s speech, he played quite diplomatically. He defended Nawaz Sharif’s statements at the same time as he expressed his disturbance. He said that Nawaz Sharif has served this country for three terms as a prime minister and he would not have brought up the names of General Bajwa and General Faiz without solid proof. Do these statements by Bilawal Bhutto amount to him splitting up from PDM and sabotaging PML-N’ anti-government campaign? Is this Bilawal Factor going to add up to PDM’s list of complications?
After Bilawal Bhutto’s contented and shocking interview, two PML-N leaders namely Sanaullah Zehri and Abdul Qadir Baloch have resigned from PML-N. This will give another blow to PDM because PML-N is the party that started it all and now it seems to be in turmoil itself. The PML-N leader Abdul Qadir Baloch called it quits with his party over the narrative constructed by Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz against Pakistan’s armed forces and for inciting a mutiny. Another reason he gave for his resignation was PML-N’s decision to not invite the former Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri to the recently held PDM rally in Quetta.
Another senior leader of PML-N, Nawaz Sanaullah Zehri has also quit from the party accusing Nawaz Sharif of betraying all those who stood by him through the times of trial. He also declared that from today on, Nawaz Sharif will be his political opponent. Sanaullah Zehri, the former Chief Minister of Balochistan, is the second PML-N leader to have resigned from the party in the wake of Nawaz Sharif’s anti-military expressions. He also said that he has broken all shackles and will be exposing the real face of Nawaz Sharif soon.
Bilawal Bhutto’s recent revelations coupled with these resignations are going to cause a serious menace to the strongly built and initially united PDM. The upcoming elections in Gilgit Baltistan can also cause a serious division in PDM because everyone will be going for its party’s interests in the region. No PPP or PML-N will be united in the elections. Everyone will be rooting for their own parties.
It had seemed that PDM will last for a very long time and some thought it can be a serious threat for the ruling government. However, with the growing resentments among PML-N and the swelling criticism towards Nawaz Sharif’s animosity with army will slowly swallow up PDM. PML-N has a history of inter party conflicts and scandals and the recent resignations are just another link to this chain of PML-N’s poor party politics.
Even though Imran Khan has certain weak points including the uncontrollable inflation, derailing economy, another wave of Corona virus, IMF’s bailout failures and much more. But PDM will not be able to take advantage of these weaknesses if PML-N’s internal politics are feeble itself. If PDM is to make a mark on the ruling government, PML-N and Nawaz Sharif will have to take precautions with their words and take every single person on board with them in taking important decisions.
Author is doing BS in International Relation from Lahore College for Women University. She is a freelance writer. Previously worked with The Frontier Post, Dawn and Express Tribune.