ISLAMABAD - Belated toning down of criticism on state institutions and offer of dialogue with all stakeholders to define the ‘rules of game’ by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was aimed at keeping the party intact ahead of general elections and to avoid some major fissures in the party’s ranks because a lot many party leaders are not comfortable with the harsh and hostile position taken by him (Nawaz) against the state institutions.

Even in his latest statement, wherein Nawaz Sharif has offered to hold talks with stakeholders, his stress was on bringing back all the institutions within their defined constitutional ambit, but at the same time he once again reiterated his stance of restoring the sanctity of vote and establishment of Nizam-i-Adl to ensure provision of cheap and quick justice to all. But whether this policy of running with hare and hunting with hound  would yield desired results or not only time will tell.

Political analysts said that it would extremely difficult to reverse the position taken by Nawaz Sharif and his daughter against the institutions and at this stage it would only damage the political mileage the party had taken by propagating the narrative of restoring the sanctity of vote and establishment of Nizam-i-Adl.

Any compromise on the extreme position taken by Nawaz Sharif would only damage the party’s popularity graph and reverse their target of sweeping the upcoming general elections, especially in the plains of Punjab.

The flexibility shown by Nawaz Sharif to open a window of dialogue was mainly to keep a good number of party parliamentarians intact with the party who were not comfortable with the party policy of confrontation with institutions and wanted the leadership to carve out some middle course through dialogue with institutions.

These parliamentarians were in contact with other political parties and considered that confrontation with the institutions would result in some sort of political fiasco even if the party managed to win the upcoming general elections like the one party had faced in the recent Senate elections where the party despite emerging as the single largest party in the Upper House failed to bring its chairman and deputy chairman.

Some insiders in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz) said that the marathon meeting between Nawaz Sharif with chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, who is recently elected party president, both brothers were at loggerheads as Nawaz Sharif was not ready to tone down his criticism on institutions and change the narrative which was running popular with the masses while Shahbaz Sharif wanted him to placate his position against institutions especially establishment.

Ruling Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz)  leadership was perturbed over the elections results for Chairman and Deputy Chairman Senate and feared fissures in the party’s ranks ahead of upcoming general elections as the hidden hands, Nawaz Sharif used to point out and grill in almost his every address and media chat, made people believe that anything could happen here as the election of an independent Senator belonging to a group of six Senators from Balochistan as Chairman Senate against the PML-N candidate the single largest party with 34 Senators in the House. So to pre-empt breakaway of party Parliamentarians imminent in the given situation Nawaz Sharif was giving the impression that he was prepared for negotiation with other stakeholders in the system only to keep all those who were double-minded and not firmly standing by PML-N.

Political observers said that the olive branch shown to the political stakeholders for grand dialogue by Nawaz Sharif would help them keep the party intact and those sitting on the fence would stay with the party in the hope that some backchannel contacts with power hub would help normalise things after the elections.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif would continue to tread the conciliatory course and not speak against the institutions while Nawaz Sharif would continue with his provocative stance against the superior judiciary but under a well thought out strategy he would contain criticism on establishment.

Political analysts said that now the main target of the ruling PML-N would be to keep the party intact and avoid some major cracks in the party ahead of upcoming general elections as the survival of the party as well as Nawaz Sharif and his family would be in landslide victory in the general elections as only then they could mould things in their favour after forming governments in Punjab and at Centre.