PPP, PML-N feel ‘dumped’ after defeat | The Express Tribune


Smarting from a rude wake-up call in its own home turf, the ruling coalition on Monday appeared to be taking a page out of its old playbook as it made under-the-breath complaints against the “powers that be” for not protecting its stakes in crucial Punjab by-polls.

Addressing a news conference, PML-N MNA Javed Latif apparently straddled a difficult dual message that the “tough decisions” taken by the PML-N-led government weighed on the polls and the party accepted the results – but the “state” also did not honour PML-N’s “sacrifice”.

“If decisions about the country’s fate are repeatedly taken behind closed rooms, it will not be good for the country’s future,” the outspoken PML-N leader warned.

The PML-N leader’s misgivings came a day after the PTI bounced back in high-stakes polls on 20 Punjab Assembly seats, making a grand arrival into the enemy’s territory as it pierced through some of the arch-rival PML-N’s pocket boroughs in the party’s home ground.

Winning the bellwether province with a landslide lead, PTI not only paved the way to wrestle back the heartland’s reins from CM Hamza Shehbaz but also set the course for triggering a domino effect for the shaky federal government.

Although the PML-N quickly expressed willingness to play by the Queensberry rules and accept the defeat with grace, the setback has apparently thrust it into the throes of a tortured process of introspection, self-doubt and recrimination.

‘PML-N betrayed’

Speaking during the conference, Latif went on to drudge up a slew of “discriminatory actions” taken against party supremo Nawaz Sharif whose services for the country, he said, went “unthanked”.

He lamented that the exiled supreme leader “who braved jail terms and fortified country’s defence” was termed a “hijacker” while Imran Khan who fumed against institutions was being granted breathers in cases.

He further alleged that PTI chief Imran even surpassed Nawaz Sharif in his criticism of state institutions and named individuals after his ouster. He requested stakeholders not to make decisions based on their “ego”, adding that if someone decides to “put us in jail today, the nation will not accept it”.

“Imran Khan is saying that judges and generals make decisions behind closed rooms, so did these decisions were not also against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz?”

“The government lost, Nawaz Sharif’s ideology won.”

Latif also emphasised that Nawaz Sharif’s return was crucial to saving the country from crises which, according to him, will further deepen in the wake of the outcome of Sunday’s by-elections in the political heartland.

Nawaz Sharif will also have to tell the ‘whole truth’, he emphasised and warned that opponents would be in a very difficult situation if the PML-N decided to divulge “the complete truth with facts to the people”.

He said the court decisions against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were “beyond the law”.

‘Coalition govt lacks mandate’

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that he has held the position from the very first day that the general elections should be held immediately instead of governing the ungovernable crisis.

“It became clear from the by-elections that the coalition government has lost the support of the people,” the PPP leader assessed and said that the deal with the IMF should be carried out by a government with a fresh mandate.

He emphasised that “tough decisions” should be taken by a government with a five-year mandate, adding that it was irrational to expect people to reciprocate with “garlands” when inflation is soaring skywards.

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