Defiant conciliation.


Byline: Arifa Noor

IT speaks to the relevance of the party or our obsession with politics that even in times of a pandemic, the PML-N's 'policy' and bayanias (narratives) are never far from talk show discussions. Shahbaz Sharif's informal chat with a journalist, which was reported in the latter's column, or a formal one to a new channel has diverted attention - temporarily at least - from the unending debate over 'to lockdown or not to lockdown'.

The controversy began with Sharif junior's assertion that he nearly made it to the prime minister's slot in the 2018 election, with the blessings of the establishment; according to the column, even the cabinet members had been finalised. But then the elder brother's bayaniya snatched the proverbial defeat from the jaws of victory for the Noonies.

The revelations were obviously much discussed. There was curiosity over who made it to what spot in this 'cabinet', and much guesswork over the identity of the two journalists who are supposed to have plaAyAed messenger boy (or girl). But more so, there has been much horror and shock over the revelation that the party, in its revolutionary avatar, was negotiating with the big, bad establishment and seeking its ashirwad (blessings). The party's critics have expressed horror with much glee as they concluded that Noon's revolutionary fervour was no more than sound and fury, and its supporters disgust as they asked why the voters were led up the garden path of defiance.

Parties opt for violence only when the state leaves them with no political space.

But really, it's hard to understand what the palaver is all about.

All those voicing their haw hai seem to be implying as if they really believed that the Noon had evolved into the offspring of Che Guevara and cut off all ties and channels of communication with the other side. Did anyone, anywhere in Pakistan (and beyond) buy this? Does anyone believe that Maryam Nawaz is now silent only because the channels wouldn't cover her if she did talk; or that Nawaz Sharif was allowed to travel abroad only because of the low platelet count?

These questions are not intended to criticise the party but simply to point out that there has been ample evidence in the recent past proving that the entire party leadership is not averse to negotiating and dealing with the establishment. And rightly so.

And if both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, who personify the defiant side of their party, can fall quiet to ensure some reprieve, be...

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