Is he past his best?



    Umair Khalid

    Apr 4, 2012

    The latest YouGov-Cambridge survey report (showing just 9% vote bank of PML-N in urban areas) is just bolt from the blue atleast for the people like me, having a soft corner for what used to be the second biggest political force in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif have some significant achievements under his belt like Motor ways, nuclear tests and judges restoration. But, after analyzing the proceedings in last 4 years thoroughly, I got to realize few of his major political blunders. Let’s take a brief look of what went wrong with him.

    The first major blunder Nawaz Sharif made was the misassessment of his strength in current Pakistan politics. He thought that people’s agony towards Musharraf is his real strength and will help him to remain popular till the next elections as he was the main victim of Musharraf’s coup. He got this impression from a massive support for judges’ restoration long march led by him. But he forgot that Pakistanis have a short term memory. Taking a stance against previous government is not enough to remain popular for more than only few months in Pakistan. With the most unpopular president in Pakistan’s history and some real governance issues in Pakistan causing a common man to suffer, people were looking for an opposition to practically put pressure on government instead of assuring them of support unconditionally.

    The level of corruption and mismanagement by current government began to wipe out bad memories for Musharraf. An extremely cunning strategy from the federal government of frightening PML(N) of army takeover, whenever they wanted to take a hard-hitting stand against their policies, seriously dented the popularity of PML(N) and made a way for a third force to play the role of opposition. Whenever N league tried to raise any issue of bad governance, federal government emphasized on having a collective responsibility for everything as Nawaz league was ruling a province with 60 percent population which looked quite logical to people especially after 18th amendment.

    The second mistake of PML(N) was their inability to overcome their personal ego and rivalry with army establishment. The traditional politics of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwah used to revolve around PPP and anti-PPP vote bank. They tried to change it to pro-establishment versus anti-establishment which is never a clever play in Pakistan. Pakistan army establishment remains unpopular as long as they remain in power. But whenever there is a democratic government, they gain public sympathies again. So, by leaving their traditional political rivalry, they lost quite a large portion of their support and couldn’t achieve much through their new rivalry

    .Last major mistake from N league, I would like to mention, was their recklessness towards a “changed” Pakistan. Eight years of missed politics in Pakistan made them incapable of coping up with the modern day Pakistan with many times more politically aware youth and a vibrant media. A die hard voter of Nawaz Sharif from 80s and 90s might still be with him but doesn’t have the same energy and passion as he had 20 years back. The upcoming generation of youth, which comprises majority of Pakistan population now, started looking for an alternate leadership who could give them a hope to resolve their issues through unconventional and modern means.

    I think that Sharif brothers have started to rethink their strategy of playing anti-establishment game realizing that it is not a favorable pitch for them to play on, as their original voter supported them against PPP not against Zia-ul-Haq’s establishment. His politics is based in Punjab where anti-military sentiments are not that high except that they don’t want to see a general as chief executive. It looks as if he has decided to break ice with army establishment by standing with them on memo scandal and shaking hands with all time pro-establishment people like Ijaz-ul-Haq, Marvi Memon, Ameer Maqam, Pir Pagara and some like minded Q league members to form a United Muslim League.

    As Nawaz league leadership has some personal bad memories with army establishment, they will never trust them but they have created a sort of cease fire situation .Considering Pakistan’s political realities, it seems to be a good political move but is it timely or too late, coming elections will tell. If he doesn’t succeed, he should curse the modern social, electronic and mobile media for creating a political awareness to interpret the political tactics so smartly. My personal observation and analysis tells that he is past his best.

  • Dunya News.....Lol! Can someone care to post this opinion poll by youGov as well.

  • Only gallop run by Gillani (Ex Jamati) have some authenticity in survey business in Pakistan. Rest are mouth peace for one or another and did not even get their survey sampling right, let alone the results.