The apparently growing popularity of Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan seems to have hit many a nerve in the political circles of Punjab. Considered to be the stronghold of the PML-N the province provides a lifeline to the PML-N if it wants to remain politically relevant.
However, the successful PTI rally in Lahore on 30th October has changed the complete outlook, prompting the PML-N to explore viable options to take on the PTI. While the PML-N is undeniably in charge of virtually everything in the province – owing to its being in the government, the PML-N has so far shunned resorting to coercive means to counter the PTI.
Instead, it is taking an alternative route that is quite unconventional for the traditionally right-wing PML-N: Soft Power (?). Since Imran Khan is said to be enormously popular among the youth, the PML-N and especially its top leadership has launched the scions to attract the rising generation to the party and its cause.
The likes of Hamza Shahbaz and Suleman Shahbaz, the two sons of the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, have already made their potentially promising presence. However, the former Prime Minister and the head of his party, Nawaz Sharif has now ushered in his daughter Maryam Nawaz to do the seemingly impossible: influence the disillusioned youth, and increase the party’s appeal.
This is, without any shadow of doubt, a clever move. The political manoeuvrings of the party have recently aroused tremendous criticism due to their failure to impact the masses. This –PML-N hopes, will work out to their advantage.
PML-N Information Secretary Senator Mushahidullah Khan is quite confident about the brilliance and resourcefulness Maryam Nawaz has. Nonetheless, he emphasizes the party has not formally decided to field her for now.
There is no denial of the fact that she may even win the election from anywhere her party decides to field her in; however, the bigger challenge lies in her and the two sons of Shahbaz Sharif’s ability to influence the youth of the province, and other parts of the country which ostensibly appear to have made their mind to vote for Imran Khan’s PTI.