Islamabad, June 15 : The historic long march not only put tremendous pressure on three key individuals and institutions to withdraw their support to President Pervez Musharraf and let the deposed judges be restored, but has also raised the profile of the PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif.
Pressure on PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari, the government, Parliament and the Pakistan Army also enhanced, in the words of a PPP leader, to give a 'decent send off' to Musharraf or there will be no political calm and stability.
Even stalwarts of pro-Musharraf PML-Q admitted that pressure on the President had mounted to call it a day because of the successful long march, which raised the heat on him.
"The sole purpose of the long march was to intensify pressure on Musharraf to quit because Nawaz Sharif, the main player behind this show, pressed this demand more than calling for the reinstatement of the deposed judges," a PML-Q leader said.
"The long march was a political gimmick to play to the galleries and gain political mileage because an agreement has already been hammered out between the PPP and the PML-N about bringing back the judges and the only question now left is its implementation," a senior PPP leader said.
He said the announcement that Nawaz Sharif had made on his return from Dubai after holding a crucial round of talks with Zardari was going to be implemented.
The PPP leader reminded that the PML-N leader had accepted the continuation of the judges, who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).
"Pressure increased on Musharraf to stand down because the long marchers' major demand was his resignation but as far as the question of reinstatement of the judges is concerned, he is not the one who has the authority to do so. It is Zardari, his government and parliament that matter more than the president or anybody else," a PML-Q leader said.
The PPP, the PML-Q and other political parties agree uninhibitedly that Nawaz Sharif is the main gainer of the long march while Asif Zardari is the principal loser. They concede that Musharraf's political fortunes have further plummeted.
It was the first time in Sharif's political career spanning 25 years that his party succeeded to collect such a large number of people at one place. He is known to be a vote-getter, not a crowd-puller. His previous public rallies had not been so impressive compared to assassinated Benazir Bhutto's meetings.