Why is Nawaz Sharif lagging behind Imran despite getting army support?

Why is Nawaz Sharif lagging behind Imran despite getting army support?

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The incident last Friday night. Nawaz Sharif came to the balcony of the party headquarters in Lahore. As soon as the three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan stepped on the balcony, the fireworks started. About one and a half thousand people gathered there to welcome him that day.

Nawaz began in his familiar style of addressing public gatherings in recent times. In the beginning, the supremo of the party said to the supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), “Do you love me?” Then there was a unanimous response, “We love you.” National elections were held in Pakistan last Thursday. With the unwavering support of his supporters for Nawaz, the country of 240 million people feels united by Nawaz, his election evidence has been scant. The way the voters turned out surprised even the election analysts.

A month before the national elections, experts were saying that PML-N is coming to power with an absolute majority. 74-year-old veteran politician Nawaz will get a chance to become the prime minister for the fourth time. The main reason for this is that Nawaz, who once became an eyesore of the powerful army in Pakistan, was “blessed” by the generals in this election.

Nawaz and his party were so confident of victory that he delivered a pre-prepared ‘victory speech’ last Thursday night within hours of polling. After that, as the results of the vote came in, the ‘hands of the dice’ started to reverse.

Election expert and political analyst Majid Nizami says, ‘If the position of the parties is clear in the results of the polls, it surprises and shocks the PML-N. PML-N did not get the result it expected.

Almost half of the constituencies known as the stronghold of Nawaz’s PML-N were won by independent candidates, who contested the election with the support of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. The PML-N, which secured 75 seats in the National Assembly, is 20 seats behind the independents of the PTI.

Experts say that the PTI has faced massive political and legal harassment in recent months. Senior leaders were arrested. Many have apparently been forced to leave the party. PTI could not even use the party symbol ‘cricket bat’. Candidates fought as independents.

But PTI is not the only party which has faced such repression. Political analyst Salman Ghani said that ordinary Pakistanis believed that the military and PML-N were behind this repression. Both these parties made the mistake of underestimating Imran Khan’s popularity.

Salman Ghani said, ‘When a person is oppressed, his popularity increases enormously. We have also seen this in the case of Nawaz. When someone’s back is against the wall, he desperately tries to fight back. PML-N did not understand that.’

Political analyst Badr Alam also agrees on this. He said, ‘PML-N has not condemned the violence and oppression of PTI even once. In fact they took the role of completely subduing the PTI. This has made PML-N the oppressor. People were angry with them.

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