LAHORE At a time when people prefer to stay indoors because of the blinding heat across the country, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has started a visit to Sindh to assess the position of his 'dormant party there and find some political allies. His decision to embark on this mission at this juncture, when he should have been taking rest at his Raiwind farmhouse because of his recent heart surgery, shows that the two-time former prime minister has realized the serious situation his party is in and the need for tireless day-and-night efforts to enable it to contest next elections- local as well as general. Though its not clear as yet when the polls would be called, the PML-N will have to work pretty hard to get some space in a province where it was defeated in the previous elections. The party faces what can be described as 'existential threat there because almost all parties of the province have joined hands with the PPP, isolating the PML-N or whatever is left of it. The MQM, which controls the urban centres, is an ally of the PPP, which has a massive following in all rural areas. Other parties like the PML (Functional), Awami National Party, National Peoples Party are also partners with the PPP. Lately, the PML-Q has also joined hands with the PPP as a result of what in political circles is called 'mother of all deals and compromises made by the two bitter enemies of the past. With so many parties united against it, it will be an uphill task for the PML-N to get a space in Sindh. Tiny nationalist parties may be the only ray of hope for the PML-N, and thats why Mr Sharif has started holding meetings with them. But this 'cake is also not exclusively the PML-Ns as Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan is also pinning hopes on these elements for the sake of an alliance. So, apparently, the two parties will try to apportion the 'asset. The situation in other provinces, especially Khyber Pakhtookkhwa and Balochistan, is also not much different and Mr Sharif also plans to visit them with the same agenda. However, it is difficult to say at this stage the kind of response Mr Sharif can expect from these provinces. Punjab is the only province where the party is in a better position, although it needs support of about a dozen PML-Q dissidents to have a simple majority in the 372-member house. Challenges in this province are also many. South Punjab, for example, is going to be a difficult region for the party in the next elections. Already the party position is quite weak in this region and Mr Javed Hashmis 'revolt may dent it further. South Punjab leaders, irrespective of their party affiliations, are for a separate Seraiki province no matter what name is given to it. And this is a demand which the party is not clearly supporting or opposing. (PML-N leaders say they are not opposed to the creation of new provinces on administrative grounds, but are against new units on ethnic or linguistic basis). Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid more than two dozen visits to South Punjab for relief activities during and after the last years floods. He also opened some Daanish schools there. However, whether his visits and other initiatives will bring about any political dividends to the party will be clear at the time of elections. Party leaders say that the next elections will be very difficult for the PML-N because young voters, who will be playing a decisive role in the success or defeat of a party, are inclined towards Imran Khan. They have advised the top bosses to activate the partys youth wing as well as MSF in all educational institutions. PML-N people say that in case the party did not take immediate steps for the purpose, it would have to pay a heavy political price at the time of elections. Punjab cabinet ministers feel powerless and unable to do much for their party supporters. They allege that because of their 'powerlessness bureaucrats dont give them any respect and importance. One minister said while talking to TheNation that the PML-Q rule was far better because the ministers enjoyed all powers and bureaucrats gave them due importance. According to the same minister, Mr Sharif was once advised to revive the All Pakistan Democratic Movement, a defunct alliance of various parties, including the PML-N, the MMA, the PTI, the PDP and some other parties. This alliance had been set up much before the 2008 elections. However, it evaporated on account of differences over taking part in the 2008 elections under the supervision of Gen Musharraf. Parties like the Jamaat-i-Islami and the PTI were of the view that the elections should be boycotted. The PML-N leadership first agreed with the decision and then decided to contest. As a consequence, the alliance came to an end. PML-N people think that revival of the APDM could boost the chances of the party in the next elections. The partys strategy to face its adversaries will be clear in the times ahead.