- Plus the sit-in outside Banigla
Distribution of party tickets is creating problems for political parties, particularly for the PML-N and the PTI. This is understandable because democratic culture has yet to strike root in political parties. Decisions are frequently taken by leaders in the name of party committees and there is no tradition of an in-house resolution of differences. Dissidents therefore often go public with their grievances. Since parties are not firmly established in the masses, they prefer fresh entrants if they are electable over old but less resourceful party workers when candidates for elections are nominated. Differences over nominations have led to a five-day long sit-in by a group of the PTI activists outside Banigala. In the case of the PML-N, refusal to issue tickets to Ch Nisar and Zaeem Qadri led them to bid farewell to the party and decide to contest as independents. Both had spent years defending their leadership and its policies while enjoying all the perks and privileges that come with holding ministerial posts or the ruling party’s offices. Neither has joined any other party so far while both have threatened to reveal secrets if any attempt was made at targeting their integrity.
A common complaint by Nisar and Qadri is that newcomers in the party were being given preference over old timers who had made innumerable sacrifices for the PML-N. Ch Nisar was unwilling to accept Maryam Nawaz’s leadership forgetting that while it might be a tradition in the army for seniors to resign rather than be superseded by juniors, this is not the practice in politics where an elderly figure like Muhmmad Khan Junejo is elbowed out by juniors like Nawaz and Ch Nisar and Bilawal Bhutto presides meetings attended by Khursheed Shah, Raza Rabani and Farhatullah Babar.
The departure of Ch Nisar had not caused any visible dent in the PML-N. Similarly no PML-N leader has so far shown willingness to side by Qadri. The forecasts of mass desertions once the caretaker set up was in place turned out to be no more than fantasies. Unless a big chunk of the PML-N leadership deserts the party the two departures would only marginally affect the party’s standing.