PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif used his address at a function in Lahore on Sunday to speak of the ‘3 Es’–education, economy and energy–which he said would be the “most important elements” of his party’s election manifesto. Now that the election is due in months, it is worth noting that all political parties are putting their best foot forward. Mian Nawaz is doing the same for his party, and the strategy he used on Sunday is probably the one he will take to the campaign trail. That seems to consist of reminding listeners about the achievements of his government, including his first term, which goes back well over two decades. As for energy, he said that, if elected, his government would resolve the circular debt issue in six months, and promised to resolve the issue of loadshedding within two years. As for the economy, he promised that the country would be ranked among the world’s top 10 economies. Even if this goal cannot be achieved, at least setting it provides a benchmark. While Mian Nawaz mentioned several economic measures, he did not place any time limits on them. As for education, he did not mention anything apart from saying that the economic sector would be promoted, and that too he mentioned as the pivot of his party’s economic agenda.
There is almost no time left, but the PML-N’s Punjab government has just enough time to remedy these deficiencies. One of the major drawbacks, that Mian Nawaz glossed over, was the need for League unity, and the obligation he has, as the leader of the party’s largest faction, of displaying the large heartedness and the spirit needed, to achieve this unity. Mian Nawaz also needs to remember that Punjab must not be taken for granted, and that elections are won and lost here. With the cracks appearing even within the N League, Punjab may no longer be the easy ride Mian Nawaz Sharif was expecting it to be.