Lahore: Nawaz Sharif, the head of PML-N, visibly concerned about the ‘ladla’ (blue-eyed) label attached to him by opponents and the perception of his party’s favoritism by the military establishment, has instructed the new manifesto committee to address these concerns in the finalization of the manifesto later this month.
However, PML-N has defended its current relationship with the establishment, questioning the timing of such inquiries when the party has historically faced an uneven playing field in elections.
According to a party insider, Nawaz Sharif is displeased with the PPP and PTI’s portrayal of him as a new favorite of the military establishment, set to return to power after legal clearance in his convicted and disqualified cases. The insider mentioned that Mr. Sharif has urged the manifesto committee of over 40 members to counter this perception and the ‘ladla’ tag.
The PML-N, on Saturday, established 30 sub-committees, tasking them with submitting recommendations by November 20 to craft a new manifesto that resonates with the masses.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has recently criticized the Sharifs, accusing them of abandoning their ‘vote ko izzat do’ (respect the vote) narrative and collaborating with ‘selectors’—a term PML-N used to describe the establishment supporting former PM Imran Khan during his tenure—to regain power. He labeled PML-N a ‘king’s party’ and emphasized the need to end the tradition of selecting blue-eyed politicians.
PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah defended his party’s stance regarding the establishment’s backing, expressing surprise at the talk of facilitation, stating that the PML-N has consistently faced challenging situations in past elections, lacking a level playing field.