#Zardari outsmarts Nawaz in south #Punjab -by Ghazanfar Abbass

A varied reaction has been observed in the Seraiki belt after the commission on new provinces, formed through a presidential order, submitted its recommendations before the National Assembly and Senate, while a Senate standing committee approved the same. And it seems that the political scenario is also going to change in the coming days after the latest developments.
According to serious political and media circles, the PPP’s tactics have not only made anxious the Seraiki nationalists but also pushed the PML-N, the country’s second largest party, towards irreparable loss. This strategy can rightly be described as a success for the PPP.
It is a matter of great satisfaction for the PPP that the writers, intellectuals and poets attached with the cultural and linguistic movement working for the rights of Seraiki people have lauded the process. Intellectuals active in the cultural and linguistic movement say the PPP’s practical steps taken to establish a Seraiki province on a geographical basis given the fact that the demand for creation of Bahawalpur and Koh-i-Suleman provinces started surfacing when the PPP decided to take the issue. These demands were raised by those elements who do not want to see bifurcation of Punjab.
The parliamentary commission’s report has shattered the dream of PML-N to divide the Seraikis by forming the Bahawalpur province. It does not end there, as the PML-N is seemingly encircled by multiple problems in south Punjab. It hasn’t been able so far to find any winnable candidate for the six National Assembly seats in Rahim Yar Khan. Perhaps, that is why the PML-N invited PML-F chief Pir Pagara to visit the district in an attempt to attract the voters.
On the other hand, Pir Pagara also held meetings with the local rivals of Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood and advised his followers to support the PML-N. According to the Seraiki political and social circles, the possibility that the instruction to his disciples will bear fruits is just like the affairs in Sindh where people though serve the Pir but cast their votes in the favour of the ‘arrow’.
Its support to Bahawalpur province has damaged the PML-N and the Seraikis have already started protests against Punjab’s ruling party. The Sharifs have sidelined the long-time loyal Khosa family to ensure one or two seats in DG Khan and are making all-out efforts to make the Legharis join the PML-N.
Similarly, the top political families of south Punjab’s main city Multan and other districts of the division have quit the party. However, some political families of Bahawalnagar, Bhakkar and Mianwali are still in league with the PML-N and it is expected that the party will grab some seats from these districts. And that too, because of the fact that the local influentials have always sided with the party forming government in Punjab after winning the polls as independents. They repeat the exercise of remaining an ally of the rulers as they need police and patwaris of their own choice. In this context, the PML-N has never given ministries to the MNAs from Mianwali and Bhakkar in the Centre.
Again, the PML-N is facing hard times, if we look at Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Vehari, Lodharan and Rajanpur districts.
It is rumored that the influential Shahani group from the Nawani Dharra as well as Akhtar Lalika from the Lalika group in Bahawalnagar are planning to leave the PML-N for the ruling PPP in the near future.
It will not be a wrong conclusion that by forming the commission on new provinces, the PPP has stabilised and consolidated its vote bank in south Punjab and also dented the prospects of PML-N. Analysts say the PPP is keeping the PML-N under pressure by using the Seraiki province card.
This card has not only enabled the PPP to attract more voters but also it is in position to bargain on the dissolution of Punjab Assembly and the share in interim setup.
Source: The Spokesman

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