KARACHI - The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has only a couple of days to decide whether to keep its presence in the Sindh Assembly by addressing the grievances of the party’s leadership in the province or to lose its political influence in the politically sensitive province.
The Sindh parliamentary group of the PML-N led by Irfanullah Marwat has revolted against the party high command and threatened to sit on treasury benches if their grievances were not resolved in eight days.
If it happens, the Nawaz League will lose whatever political clout it had in the province after May 2013 elections that returned Mian Nawaz Sharif in power for the unprecedented third time. The main grievance of the disgruntled party leaders in Sindh is the allegation that the central leadership, especially Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has sidelined them and is not taking them in confidence while forming policies at the national or the provincial level.
Since August last, veteran Muslim Leaguer Ghous Ali Shah quitted the provincial presidentship, the feeling in Sindh N league was growing that the central leadership was not paying due attention or giving due importance to the provincial leadership.
The feeling grew so much that that 200 office bearers at the district and taluka levels tendered resignations from their posts, soon after Ghous Ali Shah’s resignation. But the central leadership remained unmoved for unknown reasons.
Mumtaz Bhutto and his comrades who had merged their party Sindh National Front (SNF) with the PML-N also followed the trend and handed their resignations from senior positions a few days ago.
However, surprisingly the PML-N high command remained indifferent towards the situation in Sindh.
Political analysts are of the view that PML-N is not ready to play important role in Sindh, and perhaps decided under an understanding to give free hand to the PPP which has assured support to Mian sahib for completing its five years term. The PPP has a majority in the Senate where the PML-N is facing difficulties in passage of required legislation so the government wants a quid pro quo.
The observers said Nawaz Sharif had visited Sindh a number of times before the general elections that resulted in the joining of Mumtaz Bhutto, Liaquat Jatoi, Hakim Baloch, Sherazi brothers of Thatta and Arbabs of Tharparkar and Soomros of Shikarpur to PML-N. With this response, the PML-N appointed around 44 vice presidents and joint secretaries in the party to accommodate various groups. Interestingly, majority of these people have now either resigned from their positions or openly started disowning the party.
After the election, Mumtaz Bhutto’s son Ameer Bux Bhutto was made adviser to the prime minister on ports and shipping; Murtaza Jatoi was elevated to the post of Federal Minister for Industries and Production and Hakeem Baloch, state minister for railways. But with no powers, they all complained that they are working as dummy ministers.
Observers said as the PML-N, under the leadership of Ghous Ali, Mumtaz Bhutto and Liaquat Jatoi, had failed to come up to the expectations of the party high command in the May general elections as not a single seat was won from rural Sindh which badly disappointed the party high command.
On the contrary, these political individuals have pinned high hopes with the party’s high command.
Political analyst and senior journalist Sohail Sangi said the PPP was becoming friendlier at the Centre so the PML-N wants to pay it in the same coin in Sindh and has decided not to interfere in the Sindh’s political affairs. This left its provincial leaders in lurch.
The timing selected by the PML-N leaders to revolt is important as civil-military tension is high. Differences of provincial leadership will demonstrate weakness of the party in this sensitive juncture.