Bhutto-Sharif stag horns rivalry | By Naveed Aman Khan

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Bhutto-Sharif stag horns rivalry


BELIEVE it or not the Bhuttos and the Sharifs are admitted political phenomenon with dominant vote banks especially in Sindh and Punjab.

Since Mian Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have firm control on their political parties Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are practically hostage to the past politics and finding it difficult to come out for the country.

Factually, the dominant vote bank of the country remains divided between the PMLN and the PPP.

Both have record of distrust since the late 70s. Very rare they try to overcome their differences.

Both prefer to live with their deep enmity and go smoothly in the elections with their hostile approach. They oftenly resurface their political grudges with some fresh edition.

Their politics of intimacy and hate against each other has not only damaged the political and democratic process in the county but also allowed the power house to make inroads into the prevailing political system and use them against each other.

Presently, what we witness is the transfer of the same politics of distrust to the next generation instead of a new political approach to the new leadership. The PML-N and the PPP still have strong roots in Punjab and in Sindh respectively.

Both suffered because of their politics against each other rather than for the people. It is not easy for either of the two to disagree or dissent from the position taken by their parents.

This exactly what happened when during the meeting of the heads of PDM, former Premier Nawaz Sharif and former President Asif Ali Zardari differed with each other over the matter of resignation from the assemblies.

Things went from bad to worse when Asif Ali Zardari asked Mian Nawaz Sharif that if he was in favour of long march he should come and lead the march, something which irritated and annoyed Mian Nawaz Sharif. The PML-N has more problems than PPP.

There is no challenger in the PPP on the matter of political narrative or over leadership. It is Asif Ali Zardari, not only on paper but also in reality.

Same could not be said about the PML-N where though the party looked fully intact and behind Nawaz Sharif, the brother Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz do dissent within the PML-N.

In such a circumstance neither Bilawal, who at least on paper is Chairman and Zardari, co-chairman and Maryam, who despite being the Vice President of the PML-N but practically de facto leader in the absence of NS, could hardly do anything.

So, it seems that the elders are still not ready to give enough power to the next generation to take decisions on their own and this is where the problem lies in both the parties.

It also appears as their physical or virtual presence in the meetings have also brought adverse effect on the political approach of Bilawal Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz as like any other party leaders they too followed the line of their fathers rather than applying their own mind and going for more acceptable options.

The recent widened differences between Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto have benefitted Imran Khan to create a record of becoming the first prime minister in the country to complete a full term of five years.

It is also an admitted fact that a myth that people blindly follow the political dynasties of both Sharifs and Bhuttos clearly show political decline and fall. The dynastic politics has its own flaws and shortcomings.

The people don’t think alike and apply the same mind and political approach. They also don’t have the same mental approach and personal and political charisma.

At the same time it is also possible that the younger generation emerged as much stronger than their predecessors.

It took Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif almost two decades to sign the Charter of Democracy in the year 2006, and admitted the past mistakes committed by both and the way the establishment used them.

Just evaluate the fall of dynastic politics in India and Pakistan and view the decline of Gandhis after the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Same happened in Pakistan after the assassination of former Premier Benazir Bhutto.

The widened political gap of distrust between Bhuttos and Sharifs paved the way for the third option which was filled by cricketer-turn-politician, Imran Khan, who formed his own party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1995 and somehow became the Prime Minister in 2018.

Both Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are politically immature enough.

They have seen political tragedies and traumas in their families even then they may struggle longer to find place in power politics if they could not be able to remove the misgivings and bring new approach in their politics.

Unfortunately, both the PML-N and the PPP are not ready to forget their half a century-old political hatchets.

Their politics is not based on their diverse political manifestos for the country and the nation but the deep heart engraved hatred. They always undo political policies of each other.

Their political romance of “Character of Democracy” and PDM could not last, sustain and deliver successfully.

The recent blasts between Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari clearly reflect the same old way of attacking others.

Recently after outbursting non of them did show any restraint at all. Irrelevant, irritating and irresponsible retaliations of the PML-N and the PPP ended PDM in mockery.

The PML-N and the PPP leaderships are not ready to come out of their self esteemed political whirlpool.

Both PML-N and PPP have decided to leave Imran Khan and PTI aside because they believe that Imran and his party have no future. They have come out against each other because both feel that the next turn is theirs.

—The writer is book ambassador, columnist, political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.