Experts fear the party could disintegrate if the situation remains uncertain.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's leader stands disqualified by the country's Supreme Court after the Panama Leaks corruption probe. Moments after the verdict, Nawaz Sharif announced that he's stepping down from the seat of the prime minister. What does the court judgment mean for Nawaz Sharif, the Sharif family and the PML-N? Our experts weigh in.
One cannot be sure about it. It’s a very uncertain situation.
I don’t think so because the party revolves around one person or one family. So it will be very difficult for the party to actually have a person who could keep the party united and go into the next elections.
That’s the problem with the PML-N. Nawaz Sharif has tried to transform the party and make it more populist but it still remains the party of the establishment. We have seen in the past that whenever under pressure, the party disintegrated and I think it could happen again.
It’s doubtful because the entire family has been indicted and I think that’s the biggest blow.
Imran will have the biggest advantage but basically politics will become much more fragmented now in Punjab because the battle ground is in Punjab. The rest of the country isn’t that much affected by the verdict. It will lead to a more fragmented house.
Zahid Hussain is an author and journalist. He tweets @hidhussain.
I really have no idea but if media reports are to be believed, Khawaja Asif or Shahid Khaqan Abbasi may have a chance.
Another prime minister maybe but not necessarily another leader.
It doesn’t really mean much because nearly all other parties are also organised around a family, on a hereditary basis.
I don’t think this will necessarily be fatal to their electoral chances. This is not over as yet. I mean, there are possibly reviews to be filed, maybe even constitutional amendments. A lot of things could happen between now and then.
I don’t think so. Nawaz Sharif has been convicted by courts before as well, as well as the PPP leaders like Benazir and Zardari. Somehow, convictions and disqualifications don’t seem to stick in Pakistan.
You see, there are a bunch of things that could be done. Let's say tomorrow, a few other politicians also get disqualified on the same grounds. If the Supreme Court was to apply this rule even-evenhandedly then I find it hard to understand how, even Imran Khan for that matter, would escape. So if we have a bunch of disqualifications then eventually, probably the parliament would get around to removing article 62-63 altogether, and that would pave the way for a return.
I don’t know how important this verdict will be in electoral terms.
Because historically, the voting public seems to be relatively unfazed by allegations. Just because Imran has been successful in ousting the PM, it doesn’t mean that it would immediately improve his electoral chances with the public.
He might get an advantage, there might be a bunch of people willing to jump ship from the PML-N to the PTI, which might improve his chances. But for the general voting public, I don’t know how much effect this judgment would have.
I think we could have that. If they decide to hold elections straight away, although I don’t think they would be that bold.
Salahuddin Ahmed is a lawyer based in Karachi.
My hunch is that it could be Ayaz Sadiq, but I think the bigger point is that it is time for the PML-N to act like a party and establish that they can go through the current challenge.
I mean that the party is usually organised around one person and I think it is time for the PML-N to cross that point in its history and act like a political institution.
I am quite optimistic that they will be able to do that. It won’t be a repeat of 1993, or any other point in Pakistani history, where Nawaz Sharif is taken out and the whole party crumbles.
They will act like a party because I think the PML-N now actually stands to represent what I call the Punjabi civil, elite interest as a party. I think that interest itself is so mature and significant that it can produce a new leader. Earlier in our history that interest used to be that of the military interest, but now it is so sizable and so mature that I think it can produce another leader.
A lot will depend on the next few months. I think that it won’t damage PML-N’s chances in a big way.
The writer works with Punjab Lok Sujag, a research and advocacy group that has a primary interest in understanding governance and democracy.
The PML-N is ill prepared to face this moment because the party is built almost entirely around Nawaz Sharif and his family. The PPP government absorbed the dismissal of a prime minister because the party could delegate executive power to a party leader. Nawaz has to wield power personally to be effective. Now that he has been separated from his executive powers, he faces a unique challenge that he is not prepared for.
Khurram Husain is a member of Dawn's editorial staff and tweets [@khurramhusain]