Printline Pakistan: The third coming

Nawaz Sharif will return as prime minister for the third time.

Written by Ruchika Talwar | Published: May 18, 2013 12:29 am

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Nawaz Sharif will return as prime minister for the third time. He won a historic mandate in a terror-scarred election and left the much-hyped Imran Khan far behind. Sharif,one half of the historic Lahore Declaration,made positive remarks about India without delay. He expressed his intent to institute an inquiry into the Kargil War,an announcement which earned him flak in Pakistan.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) finished close to the halfway mark,and is now looking at options to bridge the gap in order to announce its cabinet. It has made its present felt in all provinces. Daily Times reported on May 17: “PML-N has won as many as 123 seats in [the National Assembly and 212 seats in the… assembly of Punjab while the party has also bagged a good number of seats in… assemblies of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.”. Dawn reported on May 13: “Sharif’s PML-N has ended its 11-year-long dry run to make a feeble comeback in Sindh…” It won a couple of seats in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) too,where Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf got a thumbs up. The Express Tribune reported on May 15: “Sharif’s party remains crucial in K-P’s politics even though it only secured 13 seats… With sufficient support from coalition partners,it can make or break the provincial government.” The party’s “political maturity” suddenly caught the attention of the press. The Nation reported on May 17: “JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman’s effort to sabotage the formation of a PTI government in K-P was frustrated [on Thursday,thanks to the demonstration of political maturity by the PML-N.” After much number crunching,the Sharif club finally ditched the idea of having a hand in the K-P pie by aligning with Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F),who was expected to turn his back on them had they partnered with Khan. Rehman returned the favour,reported The News on May 17: “The JUI-F has accepted the PML-N’s offer to join the government at the Centre… The two parties also agreed to form the government in Balochistan with the support of other parties.”

PTI PROVINCE

Did cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan defeat the PPP or lose to the PML-N? He had promised to unleash a “tsunami” of change in Pakistan. An opinion piece in The Friday Times on May 17 explained what led to his successful run: “Political analysts say the people of K-P have elected a new party in every election in the last 20 years… ‘Some would say the people of K-P are vibrant,’ said Imtiaz Ali,a Washington-based analyst who monitors the province’s politics. ‘If they are not satisfied with a party’s performance,they do not vote for it the second time.’ For Abdul Quayyum Kundi,that means the PTI will have to ensure impeccable service delivery to satisfy its voters if it wants to get elected again. The use of mainstream and social media helped the PTI popularity,analysts say. Political observers also say the ANP and the PPP leadership were cut off from the people because they could not hold public meetings due to security fears.”

A GENERAL’S LABYRINTH

Meanwhile,Sharif’s chief adversary Pervez Musharraf remains under house arrest. The Express Tribune reported on May 15: “An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday extended judicial remand of Musharraf by two weeks to allow Federal Investigation Agency officials to investigate the murder of former premier Benazir Bhutto.” Musharraf’s party,the All Party Muslim League (APML) won two seats in K-P. On May 13,Daily Times wrote an interesting article about how the PML-N government at the centre will deal with Musharraf after assuming office: “…the ruling party will face the biggest challenge in deciding the fate of… Musharraf… now it will be very interesting to see whether the courts will continue to adopt the policy of ‘judicial activism’ or not… There are chances that some international powers may influence the… government to acquit… Musharraf in the treason case,but the Pakistani media and opposition parties will oppose any favours to Musharraf.”

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