PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would need the support of former PTI leaders Jahangir Khan Tareen and Pervez Khattak to become prime minister for the fourth time in his life, analyst Hamid Mir has said.
“If you [PML-N] have to make a government ever and Nawaz has to become the PM, it will be with the help of Tareen and Khattak,” he said in an interview with Shaukat Piracha on his show Rubaroo which was aired on Aaj News on Saturday.
Tareen and Khattak were once among the close confidants of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, but they parted ways with the former ruling party as the country’s political landscape changed after the no-confidence motion in 2021 and post-May 9 events.
Tareen leads the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party, which is a splinter faction of PTI loyalists who coalesced around him in the wake of violent protests after Khan’s first arrest in a graft case. It was launched on June 8, 2023.
More than a month after the development, Khattak launched his own breakaway faction of the party by the name of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Parliamentarians. His party also included the ex-chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan.
Mir, who is known for his political analysis, was responding to a query pertaining to PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah’s claims that his party would win 121 seats out of 140 in Punjab in general elections on February 8.
On the same wavelength, Mir claimed that the N-league would have to make some offer to them. It would be more than just a seat adjustment, he said, and added that the party had ended its slogan of ‘vote ko izzat do’.
He claimed that no politician was pursuing ideological politics, saying that there could have been Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or Maulana Fazlur Rehman if not Nawaz to make maneuvers.
Mir alleged that politicians were coerced into joining the IPP and added that the PML-N supremo was aware of the political spectrum as the newly formed parties—also called ‘King’s party’ by PPP—have around 40 to 50 electables.
Foreign envoys pressing Pakistan on elections
Mir, who hosts the show Capital Talk on Geo News, went on to add that the credit for elections which are scheduled to be held in Pakistan in February also goes to the International Monetary Fund, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and some ambassadors in European Union.
“The IMF deal with Pakistan was signed on a promise that elections would be held before March 2024,” he said when asked about the meetings of foreign ambassadors with political leaders.
Earlier this month, Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and President Arif Alvi unanimously agreed to hold general elections in the country next year after the Supreme Court ordered the polls, overseer, to give a final date.
After the announcement, the apex court ordered the ECP to ensure that elections were held on time without any hurdles.
He added that the PTI has a “dubious” nature while speaking about their criticism of foreign envoys meeting with political leaders. According to Mir, the US envoy was also meeting PTI leaders when the former prime minister was accusing the superpower of hatching a conspiracy against him.
Mir was of the view that the ‘ladla’ tag was used by those who did not get the opportunity to get near the establishment. He added that all mainstream parties tried to do it, but in the end, the PML-N achieved
He lamented that similar things were happening to the PML-N rivals that happened with them before the 2018 elections. According to the analyst, the PTI made all-out efforts to get near the establishment by offering a lifetime extension to the former army chief.
He claimed that despite criticising an army man, the PTI chief tried to meet him when he was out of power.
Mir alleged that the N-league has made many compromises to welcome electables from Balochistan into their party.
When asked, he replied that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari misread the political developments in Balochistan.
He added that Nawaz should focus on Punjab and on those politicians who refused to join his party. The journalist stated that the PML-N would have to make a grand alliance that would also have the JUI-F break the PPP vote bank in Sindh.
‘2024 elections will be a repeat of 2018 elections’
For Mir, the 2024 elections seemed to be a repeat of the 2018 polls when the PML-N supremo was disqualified from holding public office and sent to jail. He claimed that a similar thing would happen with PTI chief Imran Khan.
He was wary of the next government, saying that the government that came into power 2018 elections could only survive for three years. “Just pray that the next government does not fail in six months.”
The analyst was of the view that Khattak and Tareen cannot break the PTI’s vote bank.
“Imran Khan has made strategy in jail and this information was given to me by his lawyer. Khan has sought a list of dedicated and committed 200 lawyers who won’t come under pressure,” Mir said and claimed that the former PM wanted such men to be educated.
“Khattak and Tareen have to contest the election by their name and reputation. They cannot break Imran Khan voters.”