Infostani International: PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s recent reversal of his purported closeness to the military establishment has stirred discussions. In a conversation with digital media, he refuted his previous claim of being a favorite of the military, prompting reflections on the party’s dynamics. The leader addressed queries on potential political agreements and blamed the current government for Pakistan’s economic challenges. As the Feb 8 polls approach, Shehbaz Sharif emphasized the importance of a fair election for a robust democracy and economy, asserting that Pakistan’s foundational goals are yet to be fully realized.
Shehbaz Sharif’s Shifting Narratives: From Establishment ‘Darling’ to Political Realities
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has reversed his previous assertion that he had enjoyed the favor of the military establishment for the past 30 years.
Responding to a question during a discussion with digital media representatives, Mr. Shehbaz stated, “If I were close to the establishment, I wouldn’t have faced imprisonment and been confined in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) dungeon [in the past].”
In earlier media interactions, Mr. Shehbaz had claimed, “I have been the apple of the eye of the establishment for the last 30 years.”
The PML-N leadership has consistently defended its proximity to the establishment since the return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October last year. The label of being the “Ladla” (blue-eyed of the establishment) has haunted the elder Sharif, with his party asserting that he will be the “Ladla” of the people.
Accusations, Political Strategies, and Economic Claims: Shehbaz Sharif’s Responses on PML-N’s Role, Agreements, and Governance
Rival parties, particularly the PPP, have accused the Sharifs of colluding with the powers that be to regain power after the Feb 8 polls.
When asked about whether the PML-N should enter into an agreement with other political entities to prevent a prime minister from facing imprisonment every two years, Mr. Shehbaz avoided a direct response, stating, “There was no political prisoner in Nawaz Sharif’s last term.”
Regarding the PDM government’s impact on the lives of the masses in terms of inflation and price hikes, Mr. Shehbaz took credit for preventing Pakistan from defaulting during the 16-month PDM government. He blamed the economic challenges of the country on the Imran Khan government but did not express a desire to become premier again, noting that if Nawaz Sharif returned to power after the Feb 8 polls, he would lead the country out of crises.
Shehbaz Sharif Redefines PML-N’s Electoral Approach and Stresses the Significance of Fair Elections for a Strong Democracy and Economy
Mr. Shehbaz redefined the party’s previous narrative of “vote ko izzat do” (give respect to the ballot), stating that meeting voter expectations is, in fact, giving respect to the ballot.
He discussed the rigging in the 2018 polls, which, he claimed, aimed to prevent the PML-N from returning to power. However, he emphasized the significance of the 2024 election, stating that it should be free and fair for a “strong democracy and economy.” He further stated that the purpose for which Pakistan was founded has yet to be fulfilled, emphasizing the need to learn from past mistakes to move forward.