Why I Feel Sorry For Nawaz Sharif

Raza Habib Raja

Yes, it is early to say anything and there is every chance that the bubble will burst as quickly as it has arisen. But realistically speaking, since I am from the hinterland of Punjab, the descent for PML (N) has begun though it may take a while before electorally it becomes evident.

Nawaz Sharif is a conservative and as someone who claims to be from centre to left, why should I even be worried for someone who is in some ways Zia’s legacy. Is he not a conservative and a right winger with poor governance record ? Did he not want to be Ameer ul Momneen back in 1997? Is he not a favourite punching bag of liberal satirists who often poke fun at his mediocre intelligence level, hair transplant and fondness for Nihari?

Am I out of my mind worrying about him? Or am I a closet PML N wala??? If you are a diehard PPP supporter then I know you will accuse me of that. But then if you are a diehard supporter, I will not even take your opinion seriously because politics is a serious business and emotional idiots (i.e die hard supporters) should not be taken seriously.

For me my credibility is more important than to be called “liberal” by emotional idiots who dont even know what liberal is!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, remember every political landscape is divided between liberal and conservatives. This holds true for even countries like France which apparently is staunchly left-wing. Conservatives will be present in every political landscape but what really matters is the kind of conservatives.

As a “liberal” you should not vote for conservatives but you should be mindful of the fact that a conservative party which is closer to the centre is much better than out and out reactionary conservative party like PTI.

And even more importantly, as democrats you have to see who has stronger democratic credentials  particularly in a country where the establishment holds a lot of power. If a party tries to defy establishment then irrespective of its conservative orientation, that party is more desirable opposition than a party which has a good looking reactionary (also supported by establishment) as its head. Yes while I appreciate Imran for motivating those who have always been apolitical to actually become politically active, I do think he is a regressive force for a democratic Pakistan.

Ladies and Gentleman, I may not be in agreement with PML N on its ideological orientation, but the party has really matured in many ways. This is a fact which will never be admitted by PPP walas and understandably because PML N is their chief rival. But this is a reality that at least their chief Nawaz Sharif in many ways is a changed man after his return from exile. This fact was fully understood by late Benazir Bhutto (Its only after her death that I have begun to realize how great she was) who had started to keep Nawaz closer. In fact in her last days, she was extremely critical of PML Q and openly appreciative of Nawaz.

I first started changing my opinion about PML N when their MNAs resigned when Zardari did not restore the judges. I know now that lawyers movement has  become discredited but for a party to resign from government just to adhere to its stance is a big thing in a country like Pakistan where paltry interests dominate.

But the biggest shift in my opinion about Nawaz Sharif came when after the Ahmedi Massacre, he issued a statement that Ahmedis are our brothers. Being someone who has Ahmedi relatives, and who is a personal witness to the naked hatred which has been shown to Ahmedis, this was a big thing. Remember that even Altaf Hussain, who virtually rules Karachi, had to retract his pro Ahmedi statements. Despite the fact that Nawaz Sharif is a conservative, he never retracted it.

And lets not forget that although now PPP appears to be firmly entrenched in power (thanks to extremely clever manoeuvring by Mr. Zardari), there were times where PML N gave them silent support. If you don’t trust me, just go through the headlines between August 2010 and January 2011 and you will find out that I am speaking the truth.

But then comes the biggest surprise. Osama Bin Ladin, was killed in Pakistani territory and the only party which rebuked army was PML N. PML N had come out of age and while it remained conservative but at the same time proved its democratic credentials. In those times, when PPP and MQM were giving pro army statements, it was PML N who was asking the right questions. It even talked of supremacy of parliament despite the fact that it was PPP and its allies who were in majority in the parliament.

And then in August the PML N chief again came under fire for his Pro India statements.

At the same time, the party is unfortunate to have people like Rana Sanaullah and even Shahbaz Sharif who are nothing but idiotic rabble-rousers. Growing up, I always used to think that Shahbaz Sharif was more intelligent than Nawaz but now I know how dumb I was during the time I was growing up.

Luckily while I consider myself closer to PPP in my ideological orientation, I am not a Jiyala and therefore my dream of a democratic Pakistan are not dominated by merely establishment supported PPP government with reactionary PTI as its opposition.

My dreams are of a democratic Pakistan dominated by two mainstream parties, both democratic in credentials, and who can keep a check on each other. I think that with possible withering away of PML N, and emergence of establishment supported PTI, that dream is becoming more elusive.

A democrat looks at the larger picture irrespective of his ideological leaning…



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