In defence of PML-N

PML-N’s in big trouble these days with the blame for the security situation in Lahore being placed directly on them. It’s blamed for patronizing militant groups in the by-elections in Jhang, looking the other way at anti-ahmadi hate speech, in some cases even sponsoring it, and even not being able to respond appropriately to the Jinnah hospital attack. Moreover it’s being blamed for being in denial and reacting defensively to allegations that it’s soft on homegrown militancy and also for being too to blame RAW.

Now it’s hard to be too sympathetic to PML-N’s woes because in every case the attacks are justified. Where one can have some sympathy is the fact that these attacks have been timed to achieve certain political benefits to each of the other groups involved. For example, Rana Sanaullah’s ties with sectarian terrorists were highlighted even though as he kept pointing out (and got mocked even more for), these ties were the rule rather than exception to politics in Jhang. Kashif Abbasi did a great show in which he passed around pictures of Salmaan Taseer at a PPP rally where a Sipah-e-Sahaba leader Rao Javeed Iqbal actually endorsed the PPP candidate and also a picture of Sheikh Waqas Akram attending a political event with leaders of Tehreek-e-Jafria. (The history of Sheikh Waqas Akram’s family is quite interesting – I believe he’s the nephew of the influential urban Jhang politician Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal. Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal initially had the support of SSP but after a falling out he was assassinated by them after which his family has swung completely the other way and despite being Sunnis are now allied with the Tehreek-e-Jafria.)

So anyway, the moral of the story is that iss hamam main sab nangay hain, although I don’t believe in that there is no black and white so we are all gray nonsense. Salman Taseer != Rana Sanaullah. Salman Taseer may be hypocritical but Rana Sanaullah is the genuine article. Despite that, I do feel a lot of sympathy with PML-N’s position. Their entire political comfort zone is capable of being eroded by a few well-timed bomb blasts going off in Lahore. That’s their achilles heel and they know it and there’s nothing they can really do about it except half heartedly commit to weeding out terrorists in Punjab. Many people may be feeling a sense of schadenfreude at the collapse of PML-N’s political capital but I don’t. I don’t see anything good coming out of the weakening of both Pakistan’s major parties. Ayesha Siddiqa argued in military inc that the downfall of the Pakistani political class has always been its eagerness to collaborate with the establishment against itself and the PPP would be stupid to fall into this trap.

This is where Zardari and Rehman Malik’s politics of reconciliation come into play. I firmly believe that they are not in the same class as Salman Taseer and I hope PPP exercises some discretion. Anyway I am probably reading too much into this situation and PML-N will soon be back to chortling over PPP’s impending demise with its journalist and judge friends with some moronic facade of a liberal cause rallying civil society behind them. The thing, the politicians should remember what the establishment is capable of and stick together.


7 responses to “In defence of PML-N

  1. Zainab Ali

    Politics is always confusing for a layman like me; but I know one thing for sure that every politician is a public servant and that’s how he should behave, but unfortunately in our country the ground realities are different and that’s why realpolitik is so evident.

  2. takhalus

    consider this rabia..2010 will go down as the PML-N’s annus horribilis..easily it’s worst year since 2000-2001..the party has faced debacle after debacle and while it doesnt have to do much to make itself look good compared to the has failed to forge a strong national counter narrative to the PPP

  3. humza ikram

    situation for PML N is very tough indeed. recent Ahmedi massacre in lahore has made nawaz sharif in a very difficult position . the reason is Nawaz Sharif now is a self made politician , he is not the same nawaz sharif of 90’s who relayed heavily on establishment but now he wants to prove himself as the lone national leader and not raising his voice against barbaric attack on ahmedi would only hurt his credential .

    but his problem is that all his second tier leadership is from jamat islami or islami jamait talba . ahsan iqbal from sialkot , hanif abbasi ,siddique farooq from rawalpindi , Khawaja saad rafique, zaeem qadri (lahore )minister of auqaf punjab same ministry which held khatmai naboyat conference .

    all of the gentleman i have mentioned above are from urban punjab , lahore ,pindi, sialkot , gujrawala, faisalabd (rana sanauallah). it will be very difficult for nawaz sharif and his second tier leadership to be sympathetic to ahmedi’s.

    on the other hand PPP is no more an urban political force realistically and i have no doubt ppp urban leader or urban jiayalas have ever supported banned outfits. for that reason ppp lahore chapter can easily have public opinion about terrorism in punjab .

  4. humza ikram

    yeah read that in the morning. i think issue of minority security is primarily an punjab centric issue. Ahmedis community is in both urban and rural parts of punjab . same is the case with Christians who live both in urban and rural parts of punjab .
    there will be few ahmedi’s living in peshawar ; i know one of them who is punjabi but shifted to peshawar long ago because his father was posted there. i’m not sure about ahmedi living in rural pakhtunkhuwa .

    as far as urban PPP not supporting sectarian outfit is actually an interesting case. i can tell about my constituency where candidate for national assembly is sunni muslim and candidate for punjab assembly is a shia muslim. similar is the case with my neighboring constituency NA123 where usually aitzaz ahsan is a candidate who is shia muslim and all the provincial candidates are sunni. so mathematically it is very difficult to urban ppp to support sunni/shia banned organization .

    • Dr. Asad Ali

      aitzaz ahsan is not a shi muslim …. heis a sunni muslim…
      besides that pml n has always had a soft corner for the taliban and pml n is considered a right wing political party generally so it is useless to expect anythingele from them

  5. jamaat Khan

    Issue is that when pseudo intellectuals start writing histories of families they know nothing about this kind of stuff comes forward. I would invite the writer to speak to me on the phone or write me a mail i will correct his information regarding this family and Jhang.He is a politician and would protect his voters above sectarian lines and if that means fighting SSP or PML N,he feels no hesitation doing that. You should also realize that when Sheikh Iqbal started his career in 1957 there was no SSP in Jhang. SSP was formed by angels and General Zia in early 80’s….rest i will tell you when you will talk to me……………….i guess little research does not hurt the writers

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