ISLAMABAD: The ‘war of narratives’ among the senior members of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) has now reached a point where the top party leadership is likely to take ‘crucial’ decisions to ensure unity in the ranks of the party, sources told The News here on Friday.
Sources privy to the PMLN confided to The News that the PMLN has already held two informal sessions after defeat in the elections of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), in which difference of opinion has become quite visible among the senior party members.
“One group in the PMLN is saying that ‘we have to fight to survive’, while the other believes that ‘we have to survive to fight’. The destination is the same but the strategy of these two groups is different. The war of narratives is now at its peak and there is a lot of uncertainty about political future of the party,” said the sources.
The sources claimed that the PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif is still a diehard supporter of the leadership of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif but he wants him to avoid ‘confrontation’ with the powerful establishment for the sake of interests of the party.
The sources further said some senior party members have shown their reservations regarding the latest political developments and pointed out that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is creating a space for itself in the political field by getting closer to the powerful quarters. “These party members are also worried about the fact that the PPP that has currently no political influence outside the Sindh province is now setting sights on its next government in the Centre and the PMLN that enjoys huge support in the largest province of Pakistan is heading towards a blind alley,” said the sources.
The sources said some senior party members now also maintain that if the situation does not change in the coming months, then many electables of the party will turn towards other political parties to secure their political future. The sources said PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif is definitely not happy with the current party situation and finds himself unable to lead the party in presence of two opposite narratives, adding “The majority of Lahore-based party members have kept mum and are also not happy with the anti-establishment narrative taken by some party hawks who are quite close to PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz.”
The sources said though some members showed reservations over the defeat of PMLN in the elections of AJK but at the same time there are many in the party who appreciated this fact that their party secured 491,091 votes (25.65 per cent) against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which bagged 613,590 votes (32.5 per cent) despite the fact that it has its own government in the Centre.
“Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervaiz Rasheed and Javed Latif are now in the line of fire and one group of the party thinks that they are pushing the party into the troubled waters by adopting a harsh stance against the establishment,” said the sources.
The sources said the pro-Shahbaz group in the PMLN has continuously been insisting on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to allow the party to become part of efforts to bring change in the Punjab government but Nawaz Sharif still thinks that his party should not make compromise over its principles and avoid seeking help from non-political forces.
Former federal minister Pervaiz Rashid in his tweet stated that those who see dreams about division in the PMLN are the same ‘wrestlers’ who just pray for destruction of their enemies.The correspondent repeatedly tried to get versions from Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah, Javed Latif and Marriyum Aurangzeb but they either avoided to give versions or switched off their cellular phones.