Nawaz wants to shoot down ‘ladla (blue-eyed)’ tag he got on his return from London

By Irum Saleem

     Nawaz Sharif — the new Ladla — a term earlier used for Imran Khan.

     Dawn’s Zulqernain Tahir on Sunday broke a story saying PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif appears perturbed at being tagged as “Ladla” (blue-eyed) and his party a “favourite” of the military establishment, he asked the party’s new manifesto committee to also address this matter.

     PML-N has defended it’s current equation with ‘the powers that be’ saying why such a question is being raised now as in the past, the party of Sharifs was never provided a level playing field in elections.

     “Nawaz Sharif is upset over the impression created by the PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) that he is a (new) blue-eyed of the military establishment and set to return to power after getting a clean chit from courts in the cases he was convicted and disqualified,” a party insider told Dawn on Saturday.

    He said the disqualified premier had directed the party’s new manifesto committee comprising over 40 members to come up with a narrative to counter this impression of the establishment’s party and Ladla tag. “The elder Sharif is keen to dilute this impression ahead of Feb 8, 2024 polls,” he added.

   PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari recently launched a scathing criticism of the Sharifs accusing them of abandoning the vote ko izzat do (give respect to the ballot)  narrative and being in cahoots with “selectors” — a term the PML-N used to refer to the military establishment for supporting former premier Imran Khan during his tenure — wants to come to power.

    He even called the PML-N a “king’s party” saying as far as the politics of selection and Ladla was concerned, “I think we still have to struggle more so this tradition of selection and choosing blue-eyed comes to an end. We need to struggle more so only the people are trusted for their votes and who they elect as their prime minister.”

    The strong representation of the PML-N men in the federal cabinet of Anwaarul Haq Kakar and VVIP protocol accorded to the elder Sharif on his return from a four-year self-imposed exile in London has also strengthened the impression of the Sharifs calling the shots.

     Feeling the heat of the open criticism from its former ally, PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah defended his party vis-a-vis the establishment’s backing to it.

    “I wonder why there is a talk of facilitation provided to the PML-N (by the establishment). Be it election during the Musharraf regime or 2018, the PMLN always faced tough situation — denial of level playing field,” Sanaullah told a presser here on Saturday.

     “If today we not facing this situation it is being said that facilitation is being provided to us,” he said and added Nawaz Sharif again presented himself (before them) to steer the country out of crises.

    It will be interesting to see whether the PMLN succeeds in untagging Nawaz’s Ladla title. PAK DESTINY

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