Maryam Nawaz Sharif reflects a similar position of power in the PML(N) as Benazir Bhutto once did for the PPP. Both parties have proven to have been successful factions much before they arrived on the scene, largely in part due to the love of working class folk for their fathers—both Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif have remained beloved figures in Pakistan by many. Both Maryam Nawaz and Benazir Bhutto were heiresses to these vast political parties, which have proven to draw exhaustive attendances from every crevice of the country time and time again. However, the popularity of these women cannot simply be boiled down to their fathers’ respective successes.
Both leaders always showed an unmatched level of confidence and courage, with the ability to proclaim their ideas towards fighting the bigger fight. When both of their fathers were imprisoned, they, too, easily and methodically took on the interim roles of leadership and swayed public opinion to fight for their righteous freedoms against military regime.
The Bhuttos have, time and time again, relied on the themes of political martyrdom and glamour in order to garner attention from Pakistanis. For the Sharifs, their main claim to drawing reactions from the crowds they gather at rallies is to relate to the common Pakistani—especially the layman Punjabi.
In today’s world, it is simple for any politician to create a Twitter account in order to reach the masses. If Benazir were to be alive today, she would have, without a doubt, been a controversial yet beloved figure on social media. Maryam Nawaz has shown to be an avid user of the service, regularly being prone to congratulate PML(N) activists on weddings and birthdays. In the words of her supporters, they believe that this shows that she shares a sort of connection with her diehard voting base. Some she even knows on a first-name basis.
The leader of the ruling party in Pakistan, Imran Khan, carries a more traditional approach to using social media—tending to gravitate towards using his following basis as a commune for receiving his press releases. However, the Prime Minister tends to carry another ace up his sleeve, often taking to Western mediums to publish his thoughts. He is an occasional writer for historic papers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post amongst a sea of other headline names—his writing style an impeccable reflection of his Oxonian background.
In today’s world, it maladaptive to limit oneself to only a national level of press coverage. Therefore, it is high time for someone of Maryam Nawaz’s calibre, too, to take to journals and newspapers outside of Pakistan. Her ideas and persona should not have to be restricted to a Pakistani audience—similar to how the Bhuttos operated in their heyday. After all, with an M.A. in English Literature, she is more than capable of expressing her fight for freedom against the military establishment in prose.
This could be boiled down to a lack of initiative from her public relations associates. Her PML(N) fellows’ focus seem to lie upon a variety of little-known outlets whose popularity remains only in echo chambers in Pakistan in order to establish the party’s motifs. The PPP and PTI, on the other hand, cast an arm which grasps the entire world in their glove. Mr Bhutto was an incredible spokesman whose speeches left their mark on the world, whether that be in the UN or in front of the U.S. president. Mr Khan is a celebrated Pakistani personality, with connections ranging from British royalty to American multinational executives. Thus, it is high time Maryam Nawaz, too, to establish herself as a personality, and receive some of the same treatment for her ideals towards a better Pakistan. Her ideas span too broad a plane to simply be held captive to a national audience: she must profess her visionary ideas on a global scale.