May 31, 2018

PMLN: 5 Years Of Roller Coaster Ride

As the five years of PMLN come to an end, we surely can say it was nothing less than a movie with all the drama, action, and emotions of all sorts. When they came into power surely they were the most powerful government which must have been formed in 'democracy' after the 1997 elections. They had two thirds majority in place which was enough to strengthen and expand their power base if they had been able to deliver with good governance model.

However, as PMLN's natural inclination to fall on their own weight, they did live up to their expectations. Starting from the initial period, when Nawaz Sharif had met Imran Khan he had the chance to resolve all matters amicably. But instead, PMLN kept delaying the investigations into 'elections rigging' until the matter was finally escalated to the streets of Islamabad. This not only damaged PMLN credibility but deeply weakened their power in Islamabad. I believe that this was the defining moment from which the downhill of PMLN started and they, despite having two thirds majority, showed signs of vulnerability when General Raheel Sharif had to intervene during the 'Dharna.

As they say, that 'absolute power corrupts'; this is what happened with PMLN. They went into their comfort zone that no one can shake their reigns of power as the traditional rival PPP was rejected in the last elections. And knowing PTI's electoral politics they knew that Imran Khan cannot 'buy' the system. But, God has its own ways to balance things. Right after the impacting 'Dharna' was over then came the mother of all scandals; Panama Leaks.

Even when the Panama Leaks came there was lot of room for Nawaz Sharif to resolve the matter amicably. But, as in the case of Pakistan's political history all our leaders have tend to listened to different people when in power, compared to the sincere loyalists who have been there at difficult times. There is no doubt in ones mind that PMLN has a strong group of loyalists and sincere cadre which has the capability to deliver results. But, in PMLN's case the hawks overtook the scenario and then came in the demise of Pakistan's most powerful governing political party.

The main reason for Nawaz Sharif to be at this stage, is his anti state rhetoric ranging from 'tricks' behind the scene to direct statements against the Army. Then, to top it all is the corruption scandals which surfaced after the emergency of Panama Leaks, eventually leading to judiciary of getting active and taking its course. I strongly believe that Maryam Nawaz played a key role in bringing her party to this juncture. Maybe it is her aspiration to be the next Prime Minister or her desire to be a role model like Benazir Bhutto. But surely she did not advise well to her father, when he needed her the most. In this process, many sincere and wise leaders were sidelined. 

Meanwhile, in PMLN's tenure there were also moments of relief especially at the front of CPEC, increasing of power generation across Pakistan, and maintaining of law and order in the society. They surely had the golden opportunity to be in power for another decade at least, but once again Nawaz Sharif did what he does best; be his own enemy. 

Let us hope that after the next elections, there will be maturity shown on part of PMLN to accept the incoming government if it is different from theirs. And they do not play the same role as they did in the 90s as they are known to be the impatient opposition when not in power.