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National

May 20, 2017

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Nawaz, Zardari one against PTI’s new Pakistan brag

Nawaz, Zardari one against PTI’s new Pakistan brag

ISLAMABAD: For a change, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief former President Asif Ali Zardari, who are not even on talking terms for quite some time, are coincidently on the same page in seeing no “new Pakistan” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan claims to have built there.

Obviously, there is no coordination or harmony between the premier and Zardari in voicing this kind of agreement on the “new Pakistan” at different venues and occasions. By airing this accord, they have attacked Imran Khan, who is asserting day in and day out that he has created the new Pakistan in KP and will bring this “revolution” to the entire country after winning the 2018 general elections.

During his just concluded visit to KP, Zardari stated that he doesn’t notice the “new Pakistan” in this province that Imran Khan brags to have created. Rather, he opined, even the old Pakistan has been destroyed by the PTI government in KP.

More than once while addressing different functions in KP and elsewhere, the prime minister has questioned Imran Khan’s declaration about building the new Pakistan in the PTI-ruled province. He has also been stating that even the old Pakistan has been defaced in KP. By referring to the gigantic projects undertaken by his government in this province, Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly said that this is the new Pakistan being built by him even in a province where his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) doesn’t have the government.

Apart from placing himself on the same wavelength that the prime minister has about the “new Pakistan”, Zardari, with one stroke, has hit Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan equally hard by referring to the ‘lion’, the PML-N’s election symbol, and ‘tsunami’ of Imran Khan that the PTI chief keeps mentioning. Both these phenomena cause devastation.

By touring different parts of Pakistan specifically Punjab and KP, Zardari is working hard to resuscitate his party that touched the lowest ebb in the 2013 parliamentary polls due to its worst performance in government. He keeps raising popular slogans, which are yet to create a positive impact on the people at large. It is anybody’s guess how far he has been successful in his mission. But the general perception is that he still needs a lot of work to erase from masses’ memory his regime’s bad governance and mismanagement.

It is a fact that no political figure worth the name or any electable from any other party has rushed to the PPP because of Zardari’s renewed efforts. At the same time, there are also no significant desertions from his party. Former federal minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan is an exception. In the 2013 elections, she, as the PPP candidate, had withdrawn at the last minute from the contest to NA-110 Sialkot in favour of PTI’s Usman Dar pitched against PML-N’s Khawaja Asif. After four years, she has switched to the PTI. In 2013, she was sure to lose. Even after withdrawal, she had secured 2,203 votes against Asif’s phenomenal 92,848 votes and Dar’s 71,573 ballots.

More than a year before the upcoming general polls, Zardari has kick-started his election campaign. In 2013, neither he nor any other top PPP leader  was able to do forceful canvassing because of grave security threats. The Awami National Party (ANP) had also faced the same damning impediment. Subsequently, Zardari and the ANP kept complaining and rightly so that while other political players specifically the PML-N and PTI had a free hand to do their election campaign, they were not provided the level playing field. However, after the 2018 elections Zardari’s grievance, if any, that he was obstructed from electioneering will be futile and inconsequential.

As far as Imran Khan is concerned, he has always been on the campaign trail over the past four years after the last parliamentary polls. At times, it is pointed out that he has fatigued his workers too much. He is always in search of issues that he can hammer against the government during his unending public drive and put the prime minister and other key institutions under pressure. There has not been any major break from his ambition from holding public rallies in different cities.

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