PML-N 'recrafts' narrative to stop PTI juggernaut.

LAHORE -- After experiencing the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of the PTI multiple times, the PML-N leadership is now searching for a 'narrative' to counter Imran Khan, especially in light of upcoming elections in Punjab following the dissolution of the provincial assembly.

This time PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is the man in charge. For this purpose, the three-time prime minister has tasked some senior party leaders to start working on framing a 'complete chargesheet' on Imran Khan and those of his facilitators in the establishment (a former army chief and two ex-spy chiefs) and the judiciary (a former chief justice) so that the entire party could target them in unison during the election campaign, a cabinet member told Dawn on Sunday.

There has been a strong realisation in the party that its 'popular narrative' - respect the vote (vote ko izzat do) - is needed to be recrafted to match with Mr Khan's narrative of 'not kneeling down' before the 'foreign masters' and the establishment.

The PML-N needs a refurbished narrative because attempts to malign the PTI chairman through Toshakhana or audio leaks have not borne fruit so far. At the same time, the PML-N members eyeing Punjab elections within a few months are also worried about the rising popularity of the former prime minister.

Maryam Nawaz to return to Pakistan soon, will lead party into Punjab elections

Leadership crisis

But this is not the only battle PML-N is faced with. The leadership crisis in Punjab has become a major concern for those aspiring to contest the next election on the PML-N ticket. Although the party is being 'controlled from London', local party leaders want Nawaz Sharif to return and lead the election campaign.

Following the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly last week, almost everyone in the PML-N in the province is asking the same question: whether Nawaz Sharif will return to counter Imran Khan or Maryam Nawaz, now the chief organiser of the party, will spearhead the campaign, again.

The PML-N leaders are wary of the party's poor performance, especially in the July by-polls, under Maryam Nawaz, and they want elder Sharif among them to bolster their chances of electoral success.

The PML-N spokesperson and federal information minister, Marriyum Aurangzeb, confirmed that Ms Nawaz is returning from London later this month, but she remained non-committal about the homecoming of elder Sharif ahead of Punjab and possible KP elections.

A party insider told Dawn...

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