PPP’s dilemma

AS general election is nearing and bye-election in NA-120 is approaching fast, PPP leadership has made Lahore centre of its political activities in a bid to taking advantage of any swing in public perception due to odds confronting the ruling PML (N). Following footsteps of Allama Tahirul Qadri, former President Asif Ali Zardari also staged a comeback to Lahore but, of course, without the fanfare that we witnessed at the arrival of PAT chief and his subsequent dharna while his son Bilawal Bhutto is also in the provincial capital and in a joint press conference they spent most of the time criticising Mian Nawaz Sharif and falsifying the impression that they supported PML(N) in any way and would not do so in future.
Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal ruled out electoral alliance with any party including PTI but one fails to understand how the PPP intends to remain relevant in politics given its all time low standing in the eyes of masses especially in Punjab where many of its stalwarts deserted to PTI. It is strange that PPP wants to conquer Punjab but is not ready to part ways with its anti-Punjab rhetoric. Its Federal Government used every conceivable tactic during its five year tenure to harm the province including discrimination in supply of electricity and gas to industries in Punjab, maligning it on water issues, depriving it of its legitimate share in NFC and conspiring to bring down the elected government of the province. The PPP has also been hurling accusations against Punjab for the last four years on the pretext of share of smaller provinces in CPEC, opposing tooth and nail construction of eastern route of the Corridor even if priority is given to the western route and questioning legitimacy of establishment of power plants in Punjab as these could eventually mean energy security for the province. There is marked similarity in the approach of PPP and PTI in Punjab as both of them want to use short-cuts to get PML (N) politically out for getting that it was not so easy as Mian Shahbaz Sharif has worked hard to bring about a positive change in the province and as a result life of the people is easier in many respects. PPP and PTI have nothing to their credit in Sindh and KP respectively to persuade voters in Punjab of their dynamic approach. It was because of this that instead of fighting Begum Kulsoon in the arena of NA-120 both of them tried to get her nomination papers rejected by the Returning Officer. PPP needs revolutionary and out-of-box policies to create room for it in Punjab but it is treading the opposite path and the outcome is obvious.

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