Sharif’s task

Nawaz will have to look at broader picture of reconciliation and reach out to political adversaries

Editorial May 29, 2024


It was an eventful day on the fringes of defence and politics as ‘Youm-i-Takbeer’ was observed by the nation, marking its impregnable status as a nuclear power. The ruling PMLN did some playing to the gallery as it declared the day as a national holiday for the first time since the atomic tests on the hills of Chaghi on May 28, 1998, and chose the same day to stage a return to active politics by three-term prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

The intention was to boast it on the political and security parameters, and kick-start a campaign to reorient the party after its dismal performance in the February 8 general elections this year. To what extent it was able to do some window-dressing to rebuild its image is hard to guess, as pestering political instability and plummeting economy will continue to keep it on the edge.

Nawaz, who opted for a prolonged self-exile in the wake of his disqualification by the apex court, was already the life-time patron for the PMLN. His decision to take over the party affairs as president after a hiatus of six years has opened a floodgate of queries, and many insiders too anticipate a confrontational path with the powers-that-be. The elder Sharif had always maintained an offensive strategy while talking in public against all those who had, according to him, conspired against his two-thirds majority government, and showed him the door. His timely abdication to Shehbaz Sharif was seen as a fait accompli, and this is why his limping back to assertiveness will keep the mosaic of politics in rough waters.

There are no short answers as to what extent Nawaz’s return to active politics will influence the beleaguered government at Centre, and consolidate his daughter’s reign in Punjab. But Nawaz, as a seasoned politician, will have to look at the broader picture of reconciliation and reach out to his political adversaries, especially incarcerated PTI leader Imran Khan. Sharif too has been through this trial and tribulation, and should foment a policy that is not path-crossing on the political and Establishment turfs.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2024.

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