PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif has made revelations that, if true, would make even more dubious his and his party’s participation in the present dispensation. Addressing the Anjuman Karkunan-i-Tehrik-i-Pakistan on the occasion of its Youm-i-Takbeer function on Monday, he claimed not only that Mr Zardari assumed the Presidency by deceit, but also the 2008 election was rigged. However, he did not explain why his party took part in the election, putting up its own candidate. He also neither explained why he hung on until the next election was almost upon us before announcing elections were rigged, nor his party’s continued participation in the Assemblies and even participation in the government. And when finally it left the government it was accused of being a friendly opposition. Mian Nawaz’s claim, at this late juncture, has not just provided yet another example of a party refusing to accept election results, but also has thrown into doubt the 2008 election. Mian Nawaz should have realized, before making the claim, that the 2008 election also led to the PML-N coming to office in Punjab, where it has been in power since, despite an attempt by the PPP to topple its government after having imposed Governor’s rule on the province.

The disclosure about President Zardari, that he shocked Mian Nawaz and the entire nation when he became President, should also have come before, because it not only affected the highest office in the land, but also was a seminal event in the PML-N’s participation in the system. It had not expressed any doubts when he was elected, even though a PML-N candidate was defeated, and to do so now, is to negate the PML-N’s years since 2008 as part of the prevailing political system.

If the charges are true, they could throw into doubt the PML-N’s victories in 1990 and 1997, which presumably Mian Nawaz would not like to happen. There is also the absence of any rigging method from his narrative, just as it was absent from the PPP’s, and thus the charges should not have been made. No national exercise involves so many citizens, and charges of rigging are not to be made lightly.