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The Challenge to Nawaz Sharif?

by Afzaal rehan
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Afzaal Rehan

These days, the return of Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the PML-N, to his homeland is generating a lot of buzz and excitement. His party has made elaborate preparations for his homecoming, but Nawaz Sharif’s own brother has gone to great lengths to ensure his safe return. Currently, there seems to be no way to bring Nawaz Sharif back, even though no legal case is pending against him. Mian Sahib should take great caution when returning to his homeland, as he may need to keep a low profile and stay away from his brother and a few other personalities.

Seeing Nawaz Sharif return to his country has brought joy to his supporters, while the faces of some of his detractors have turned pale. They continue to harp on the narrative that since he has been Prime Minister three times before, why is he coming back for the fourth time? Some have even given him a derogatory name in England, where he is living in exile. They criticize him for being a convicted criminal. However, these people are well aware that despite various allegations of corruption and embezzlement against Nawaz Sharif, none of them have been proven. The way he was declared ineligible also exposed the flaws in the system.

His extension sympathizers have wrapped the system around their fingers, and the questions arise as to what hidden agenda the Sharif brothers have with the powers that be. However, the common people, especially those who are genuinely happy to see Nawaz Sharif return to Pakistan, are now pondering what’s left of the secrets that the Chaudhry family, the Lords of Jodhiseri, still hold.

Nonetheless, those who refer to Nawaz Sharif’s return as a revolution may be doing so for political or personal reasons, but the facts do not support their claims. Nawaz Sharif does not possess a magic lamp to instantly solve the country’s problems or to eliminate public suffering. It is important to note that even with electoral success, Nawaz Sharif will not have the kind of free hand that he would need as a strong Prime Minister, which may be demanded by parliamentary democracy or as a national leader. He had raised certain issues before the matters were concluded, but it has been made clear that Mian Sahib is not interested in pursuing the grand plans he had in mind.

Regarding these points, his party has also understood the ground realities and convinced Mian Sahib with better arguments in an environment of understanding and agreement. The journalists who criticize Mian Sahib, asking why the slogan “Respect the Vote” has been raised, or why he is returning with a deal, must know that Nawaz Sharif will not return from London, where he had claimed to have become a revolutionary, that he would not take dictation, that he would establish constitutional rule and strengthen the supremacy of parliament.

While all of these claims may have their place, it is also a bitter truth of Pakistani politics that he is not entitled to be called a seasoned politician who does not understand this. It is a struggle in which, despite taking two steps forward, one sometimes has to take three steps back. Although there is no connection to the cricket field, here too, one must be cautious and make the right moves, or else, like in cricket, getting out can be quite a challenge.

Nawaz Sharif can be criticized and accused as much as anyone wants, but the truth is that at this moment, there may be several alternative power players in Pakistan, but there is no better option than Nawaz Sharif for national leadership. Whether one agrees or not, Pakistan, in its current state of decline, is not prepared to present itself to the world, and our recent leadership has made the nation weaker and more vulnerable.

In such a situation, presenting Nawaz Sharif as a popular national leader is in the broader interest of the country. It is also a suggestion to the powerful that, for the sake of national stability, they should fulfill their responsibilities. However, Nawaz Sharif should remain within a specific framework in constitutional and democratic terms, despite the ground realities.

The real challenge for the PML-N should be to see how it can regain public trust and support without falling into the trap of powerful forces or organizations. Instead of becoming part of a power struggle or political group, how can they regain the people’s trust and solve the country’s problems with a solid agenda and manifesto?

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