Published By: Sheen Kachroo
Last Updated: November 12, 2023, 16:28 IST
Perturbed at being branded as “ladla” (blue-eyed) of the powerful military establishment by his political opponents, Pakistan’s former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has directed his party’s new manifesto committee to address this issue ahead of the general elections scheduled in February, according to a media report on Sunday.
The 73-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, who returned to Pakistan from London on October 21 after four years of self-imposed exile, is all set to lead his party during the polls, which are scheduled to be held on February 8, 2024.
Sharif is upset over the impression created by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and jailed former prime minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf: that he is a “blue-eyed of the military establishment and is set to return to power after getting a clean chit from courts in the cases he was convicted and disqualified, the Dawn newspaper reported, quoting a PML-N insider.
Sharif, the only Pakistani politician who became the prime minister of the coup-prone country for a record three times, has directed the party’s new manifesto committee comprising over 40 members to come up with a narrative to counter this impression of being the establishment’s party and the ladla tag, the insider said.
The elder Sharif is keen to dilute this impression ahead of the Feb 8 polls, he added. The PML-N on Saturday also formed 30 sub-committees, asking them to provide recommendations by November 20 for devising a new manifesto that could appeal to the masses.
Imran Khan’s party has raised concerns over the lack of a level playing field. Also, the rivalry between the PML-N and the PPP has gained momentum as the latter has alleged that the Nawaz-led party has a hidden alliance with the current caretaker government.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari recently launched a scathing criticism of the Sharifs, accusing them of being in cahoots with selectors – a term the PML-N used to refer to the establishment for backing Imran Khan during his tenure – to regain power.
The former foreign minister even called the PML-N a king’s party, saying as far as the politics of selection and ladla were concerned, I think we still have to struggle more so that this tradition of selection and choosing blue-eyed [politicians] comes to an end.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)