PML(N): The Rupture Within?

Being a student of Political Science  during 1963-65 and a regular contributor to the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column in ‘The Pakistan Times,’ I have had the opportunity of reading about political parties functioning at that time, starting with the Pakistan Muslim League (Convention). From there onwards, the study never stopped, though it slowed down at times due to other pressing engagements.
Historically speaking, the Pakistan Muslim League has remained a party of the lords. With the induction of Mian Nawaz Sharif into politics, the party’s complexion changed from that of the feudal lords to that of the industrial lords as the supremos.
6944677-big-thief-stealing-a-lot-of-moneyFrankly speaking, there is no difference in the mindset of a feudal lord and an industrial lord. Both are lords–the masters–and the rest are their subjects. The difference lies in the environment in which both lords operate. The feudal lord rules over illiterates in a rural set up and the industrial lord rules over literates in an urban centre.
So, expecting democracy from the feudal lords or the industrial lords is like expecting a baby from a transgender. It is as simple as that. A democrat is not born of a palace, it is born of a hut. That too, if the hut doesn’t have a domineering father or mother. Where is the democracy in our society? In our homes? In our schools? In our colleges? In our business and industrial enterprises? How on earth can we expect a democrat growing up in a dictatorial environment!
Talking of the parliamentary form of government, the least said the better. The parliament in the third world countries, especially in nascent democracies, is the nursery where rich becomes richer, by hook or by crook. Pakistan is no exception.
Coming back to Pakistan Muslim League in whatever shape and shade it existed from time to time, it is the party of lords whether it is Chaudhries or Sharifs at the helm of affairs.
Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) owned by the Chaudhries of Gujrat is the breakaway faction of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif). Both the factions were earlier part of Pakistan Muslim League (Junejo). Each faction of the party has generally remained associated with its founder or sponsor and virtually owned and run by him.
PML(Q) suffered heavily in the 2013 elections because it refused to change. It refrained from changing the party leadership and letting it go outside the Shujaat-Pervez family alliance.
PML(N) benefitted by the losses of PML(Q) and took away the lost PML(N) from the clutches of the Chaudhries.
Now is the testing time for PML(N). Will it be a party of Mian Nawaz Sharif or a party of Muslim leaguers? Will it learn from the experience of the Chaudhries and let the leadership go outside the Sharifs? Or will it let the party be ruptured from within.
Honestly speaking, the PML(N) is already bleeding. Mian Nawaz Sharif has been unable to complete the federal cabinet and Mian Shahbaz Sharif has been unable to complete the Punjab cabinet, two stunning examples of the inner self of the party.
There has been no party conventions and no party elections in PML(N). All the posts are filled by nomination. All the party decisions are only talked about in the inner circle of the ‘most favoured men’ but Mian Nawaz Sharif can veto any decision without question. And those expressing their views in the inner circle have to be extra-cautious in the use of their limited vocabulary.
The inner circle reigns irrespective of their designations in the party. The chairman and the secretary general are practically non-entities. It is hazardous for anyone to climb the ladder and land in the inner circle.
The inner circle is well-guarded by its occupants. You find the same faces in the inner circle day in and day out. As usual, the weight of each occupant changes with the change of mood of the party head. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is one recent most example. It is now the Khawaja’s and Dar’s golden days.The right and the left hands are already occupied. So, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will have to wait till one hand falls vacant. Quitting the party, though he threatened many a time, won’t be a good choice for him.
Wait for the next episode on the historic role of the Little Master in PML(N), In sha Allah, next week.
Mumtaz A. Piracha

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