ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is practically distancing itself from the erstwhile allies – for now - as it goes into election campaign.
This breaking off is not expected to be permanent and could turn again into friendship once the elections are over.
PPP brains believe that staying close to the parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal) could damage the party’s vote bank as the coalition government – which included the PPP – hardly gave any relief to the people in any sector during its 16 months’ struggle that ended in August last.
PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who served as the Foreign Minister in the coalition government, had admitted this fact in his last speech in the National Assembly. He was however, optimistic that a new elected government with a fresh mandate can make amends.
The main partners of the coalition government – the PPP, the PML-N and the JUI-F – are now taunting one another and this trend is likely to get bitter as the country gets closer to the elections.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has recently stressed the importance of giving the power to elect the government back to the people. He also took a dig at the former allies, suggesting that if they are avoiding elections, they should simply step aside.
The PPP chief also maintained that the upcoming election would be based on the PPP’s accomplishments and manifesto, with the goal of defeating the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and ensuring that the government is elected by the public.
Bilawal outlined the PPP’s past achievements and development projects, promising to continue delivering progress if the PPP wins in the upcoming elections.
The PPP had joined the coalition government after the fall of PTI’s government with promises to tackle inflation, promote prosperity, and reduce the influence of powerful institutions in politics.
Later, they acknowledged their failure on these fronts, as Bilawal admitted in his farewell speech in the National Assembly just ahead of its dissolution.
There is currently a divide among the former ruling coalition on the timing of the general elections. The PPP advocates for polls within 90 days, while the PML-N and others are content with a delay until February or even further.
The PML-N is awaiting Nawaz Sharif’s homecoming next month and hopes to make it a grant event before jumping into the elections.
On issues like inflation and high electricity bills, the PPP is now urging the interim government to take measures to ease the burden on the poor and the middle class.
The PML-N, on the other hand, is putting the blame on different institutions for disqualifying their leader Nawaz Sharif in 2017, attributing the current economic crisis to those decisions.
Political analysts suggest the PPP is trying to distance itself from the failures of the previous coalition government and shift the blame onto the PML-N. They maintain all political parties are trying to appeal to voters and maintain their relevance in the lead-up to the elections.
Yesterday, Bilawal addressed a gathering in Muzaffargarh and emphasized the party’s commitment to addressing the country’s challenges through its manifesto, which focuses on empowering common people, especially farmers and laborers.
He spoke of the PPP’s past achievements, including addressing food shortages, and expressed hope for a better future for the people.
Bilawal discussed the PPP’s upcoming election strategy and its commitment to providing education and healthcare opportunities.
He also spoke about the importance of working together for the betterment of Pakistan and urged for a level playing field in politics.
Trying to avoid the blame for the economic crises in the country as the second major partner of the coalition government, may be a political approach but it remains to be seen if the voters buy it or not.
Attacking the PML-N as three-time PM Nawaz Sharif prepares to return home is designed to stop people from massively joining the Sharif ship, especially in Punjab. The PML-N already has a huge vote bank in Punjab and Nawaz Sharif’s return is not expected to lower the following.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman has also revealed that he was not in contact with the PPP and nor he was thinking of an alliance with the PPP in the near future. “We are presently in contact with other parties, not the PPP,” he said this week. He said delay in polls is due to a decision taken for new delimitations by the coalition government of which the PPP was a key partner.
Criticizing each other before the elections could be a weapon to win some extra votes but this does not rule out the same parties joining a new coalition government. Asked if the PPP or the PML-N can sit together after the elections, the top leaders of both the parties promised to “seriously consider.”