IT augurs well for the democratic process that almost all political parties, in their own ways, have started focusing on the next general election which are due to take place in 2023.
There is also a pleasant change in the approach of major parties as now even PML(N) is talking about holding of the elections on completion of the term of the present assemblies as, speaking at a party convention in Rawalpindi on Sunday, PML(N) President Mian Shahbaz Sharif anticipated defeat of the ruling party in 2023 elections, urging all institutions to make it sure that the next elections are held in a fair and transparent manner.
What transpired at PML(N) convention has brought into limelight some important aspects of the country’s future politics and strategies of the major parties.
Attempts to infuse a new spirit in the otherwise dead Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) notwithstanding, it is now clear that PML(N), PPP and ruling party/its allies are all now eyeing at elections after two years.
PML(N) would no more waste its time and energy on efforts to destabilize the Government through protest marches, sit-ins and threats of no-confidence.
The change in the strategy of PML(N) comes in the backdrop of a similar approach adopted by the PPP, which is a stakeholder in the existing set-up and does not want to shake it violently despite occasional bursts by its Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who throws feelers like no-confidence off and on obviously to counter threats and moves by PTI to destabilize its Sindh Government.
The demand made by Mian Shahbaz Sharif for holding of elections in a highly fair and transparent manner is understandable but unfortunately instead of realizing the objective from the platform of Parliament, he is looking towards other institutions, which makes legal and constitutional moves aimed at reforming the electoral system somewhat irrelevant.
PML(N) has rightly decided to influence the public opinion by focusing on the performance of the PTI, especially the issue of price-hike, which has become the number one concern of the people.
PTI still has two years to improve its governance and deliver as per expectations of the masses as the next elections are to be contested on the basis of its performance and comparison of its tenure with the five-year term of PML(N) but regrettably it is still banking on rhetoric of opposition bashing that has little to do with the practical life of the ordinary citizen, who wants resolution of the day-to-day problems and putting of the jinn of price-hike back into proverbial bottle.
Though Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stayed away from the Rawalpindi convention, but a firm message was delivered by participating leaders that the party was united under the leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif, putting at rest rumours about a serious rift within PML(N).