After facing defeat at the hands of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which resulted in power loss for the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) in its stronghold province of Punjab; PML-N is now formulating a counter-narrative to give an equal or more powerful response to PTI.
After Imran Khan announced dissolution of the country’s largest province, Punjab’s provincial assembly, which is being followed by upcoming dissolution of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial assembly; Imran Khan’s narrative of now bowing down to the pressure of the country’s powerful military establishment, coupled with the popular US-led regime change narrative has helped the party’s strong political penetration within the Punjab province and has badly hurt the PML-N’s position.
It is this realization that the PML-N leadership in London under former premier Nawaz Sharif has decided to take charge of the deteriorating party position in the province and come up with a counter-narrative. The narrative is targeting Imran Khan by framing a charge sheet against him and his supporters in the military establishment, including former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) retd. General Qamar Jawed Bajwa and former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief retd. General Faiz Hameed.
As per the details of a major decision undertaken during a party meeting in London, Nawaz Sharif has decided to send his daughter Maryum Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan and lead the political campaign for by-elections in Punjab.
It has also been decided that PML-N will come out with a counter-Imran narrative in which, Khan will be slammed for playing into the hands of the then military establishment, who PML-N claims brought him into power through a selection process in 2018 and negated the public vote opinion.
The former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar will also be part of PML-N narrative as he will also be targeted for undermining the democratic process of law and making illegal and unconstitutional decisions to ensure power to Imran Khan.
PML-N has also realized the fact that its previous narrative “respect the vote (vote ko izzat do)” needs a new do-over to counter Imran Khan’s anti-establishment and regime change narrative, which has gained widespread popularity among the masses.
“PML-N needs a refurbished narrative because attempts to malign the PTI chairman through Toshakhana or Audio Leaks have not borne fruit so far,” said a senior PML-N leader.
“At the same time, PML-N members are eyeing the Punjab elections a few months from now, and are also worried about the rising popularity of Imran Khan,” he added.
It is an established fact that Imran Khan has gained massively in Punjab province due to the non-presence of top leadership of PML-N in the country, which has led to a severe leadership crisis within PML-N in the province.
Local PML-N leadership wants Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan and lead the election campaign as managing the party from London has only resulted in political failure and internal crisis for the party in its home ground.