Like everyone else, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)’s Deputy General Secretary Ahsan Iqbal also thinks a hard battle is about to be fought. Only he believes that it’ll take place after the elections as the PPP and PTI fight it out over the slot for the Leader of the Opposition.
Riding in his landcruiser while touring villages in his constituency, Iqbal said the PML-N would sweep not just the three seats of his home district, but the majority of seats across the country.
He is contesting the general elections from NA 117 Narowal, which elected him as MNA in 1993, 1997 and in 2008.
“There will be tough competition between PPP and PTI over slot of leader of opposition in NA” Iqbal said as he resumed speaking with The Express Tribune after addressing a public gathering at Saddowal village.
As for the PML-N, Iqbal claimed his party will easily win 140 seats out of a total 272 NA seats from across the country.
Despite winning the simple majority that Ahsan is predicting, he says the PML-N will nonetheless form a broad based coalition government, including all those parties that agree with the PML-N’s reform program.
“The PML-N believes that in order to fulfill its broad-based reform program it needs broad-based consensus” he said.
He said that there is a difference between a majority broad-based coalition government and a non-majority broad based coalition government as the former has the luxury of deciding policy without being subjected to blackmail by its own coalition partners. A coalition government that is too dependent on its partners leads to the kind of impasse that was present in the past five years, he said.
When asked whether the PTI will also be a part of this coalition, he laughed out loud and said that since Imran Khan had already declared that he would not join hands with the PML-N, that question was moot.
Iqbal also made another prediction, saying that even if the PTI managed to win seats it would disintegrate into smaller factions, as its ticket holders are opportunists who are simply not cut out to sit in the opposition.
Warming to his theme, Iqbal said the PTI chief was only raising slogans and had no experience as to how to run the country. On the other hand, he said PML-N’s President Nawaz Sharif has proved himself as true leader of the country.
If you’re curious as to what the PML-N’s reform package will entail, here’s a look:
Its broad-based coalition government will be clean and free from corruption and will take swift action to revive the economy, introduce tough accountability, while also devolving education, and health to the district level.
To address the sinking law and order situation in Balochistan, it will initiate talks with Baloch nationalists in order to address their grievances.
Iqbal also said that it will make China a partner in the energy sector, thus resolving Pakistan’s energy crisis and also cementing the relationship with Beijing. He said that will improve relation with India and Nawaz Sharif will himself take the point in resolve all disputes with India.
He said his party will exploit the strategic location of the country which, with a population of 190 million, is the ideal place for foreign direct investment. He said PML-N will channel such investments to the energy, transport, telecom, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2013.