‘PPP is a potential PTI ally’

Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak has been affiliated with several political parties and is considered a barometer of politics in south Punjab

‘PPP is a potential PTI ally’


ashing in on opportunities and opening doors previously thought to be closed are some of the skills veteran politicians take pride in. It is said that in politics all possibilities are to be considered, including the most outlandish.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) can be an ally of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the forthcoming elections, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, a PTI member of the National Assembly from Rajanpur district, tells The News on Sunday. Dreshak had been elected to the provincial and national assemblies several times. He has also served as the provincial minister for irrigation, law and parliamentary affairs. Sardar Dreshk has been affiliated with several political parties. In south Punjab, he is considered a barometer of politics. Some claim that Dreshak is good at assessing the mood of power circles and shifts his political alignment accordingly.

Dreshak says while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has broad support in the upper Punjab, the PPP can bag many seats in southern Punjab in the coming elections. He points out that the party already has some seats in south Punjab. Also, he says, many people have a soft corner for the PPP. He says when Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani was prime minister from 2008 to 2012 the government took up the issue of a separate province of south Punjab. He says Gillani was seen to have worked sincerely for its creation. He says the PML-N was not committed to the idea. He says the question of the creation of a south Punjab province will also be an important one in the coming elections.

Dreshak recalls that a Janoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz (JPSM) was formed in 2018 and many political bigwigs had it. “Many parties knocked at our doors. In the end we decided to merge the JPSM with the PTI after receiving the assurance from Imran Khan that the PTI would create the province in 100 days.”

When the PTI came into power, he says, they could not create the province because they lacked the two-thirds majority required for a constitutional amendment. He says he believes that Imran Khan was sincere in his promise even if he did not deliver. Dreshak says that the PTI has set up a secretariat in the south Punjab to facilitate good governance. “The PTI government also allocated more development funds for south Punjab then had been allocated before. We also reserved a job quota for the people of south Punjab districts.”

The coming elections, he says, will test the electables hard. “They will have to think a hundred times before joining a party,” he says, apparently on account of the recent Supreme Court judgment interpreting Article 63 of the constitution. Asked to comment on the prospects of those who had left the PTI recently, he says: “The people of the south will decide their political fate.”

Dreshak says new and hitherto unexpected alliances might come up in south Punjab ahead of the next elections. He says that the people will likely vote in favour of “old and familiar faces.” Certain politicians, he says, have loyal vote banks. “They get 90 percent of the votes on their own,” he says, adding that around ten percent voters take into account party affiliation of the candidates. “The people of southern Punjab are traditional in
their ways. They look forward
to traditional politicians and parties.”

Dreshak believes that political awareness among voters has increased. “Because of the internet, voters are now connected globally. They see what is happening around the world and they have started reshaping their thinking regarding Pakistani politics.” Dareshak says tenants, labourers, farmers etc now have more opportunities with greater access to the internet and the social media.

He says that a majority of the votes in the next elections will be cast along tribal lines. But he also warns that the people of south Punjab can no longer be lured by impressive slogans alone. “People want practical steps taken for their welfare. The lack of civic facilities and the expanding slums have compelled them to look for politicians who will talk about their issues.”

Despite the turmoil the PTI finds itself in, Dreshak says, he will not leave the party. He says he sees a bright future for the party in south Punjab. He says certain electables in south Punjab who used to have the luxury of choosing a political party to join will now find the going tougher and any mistakes they make might cost them their stakes in politics

The writer is a reporter at The News International. He can be reached at sherali9984@gmail.com

‘PPP is a potential PTI ally’