Battle lines widen within PML-N

Hassan Naqvi Staff Reporter

18th Sep, 2021. 02:02 pm
Five more PML-N members sent their resignations

Five more PML-N members sent their resignations

LAHORE: The lines are drawn and the internal divide within the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz camp is crystal clear.

According to party sources, the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had somewhat managed to clear the dust for the time being by instructing party Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal to issue show cause notice to MNA Mian Javed Latif. He was issued the notice for indirectly targeting party President Shehbaz Sharif and some of his like-minded leaders who are in favour of ‘reconciliation’ with state institutions at private TV channel’s talk show.

“Those who are on an assignment talk about reconciliation. I don’t want to name them but when seasoned leaders cause damage to the PML-N narrative, this is definitely not possible without an assignment (from some quarters),” Latif had said in the talk show.

The show-cause notice reads: “It has come to the notice of the party Quaid that you (Javed Latif) appeared on a talk show on Sept 14 in which you made certain comments and allegations that were baseless and violative of the party discipline.”

Iqbal had stated that PML-N allows “maximum space” to its members but added that at the same time the tone and tenor in public discourse that violates the discipline of the party are “intolerable”.

“I am directed by (Quaid) to issue this show-cause notice to you [Latif] and you are called upon to show cause as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. Respond to this notice within seven days,” Ahsan Iqbal had said.

Javed Latif’s stance

When contacted, PML-N MNA Javed Latif told Bol News he never targeted party president Shehbaz Sharif as he never said anyone’s name.

He added that he would reply to the show-cause notice received from the party’s secretary general and senior leader Ahsan Iqbal.

On the other hand, senior lawyer Ghulam Haider told Bol News that if Latif decides to challenge the show cause then it would not harm him as the PML-N has not declared the Quaid’s position in its party constitution submitted to the election commission.

He added that however, there is a legal twist in the show-cause notice as it is issued by the PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal who is an office-bearer.

“So keeping that in mind Latif could face the consequences if he challenges the show-cause notice,” said Haider.

Hamza, Shehbaz’s absence leaves Maryam embarrassed

A party leader claimed that Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, Rana Mashhud Ahmed Khan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Malik Ahmed Khan, Salman Rafique and other leaders had skipped two back-to-back important meetings of Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur divisions on Thursday and Friday in protest of Latif’s remarks.

Party sources added that during the divisional level meeting one of the MNAs asked PML-N’s Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz that Shehbaz and Hamza were missing.

“We managed to win our provincial and National Assembly seats because of the development work carried out by Shehbaz Sharif during his tenure as chief minister Punjab,” sources quoted one of the MNAs saying in the meeting.

They added that the comments had put Maryam Nawaz and her camp in an embarrassing position.

“Hamza Shehbaz was present at the party office on Friday but did not attend the meeting while PML-N’s president’s house is just a few hundred metres away and he also skipped the meeting,” a senior party leader said.

‘Nawaz’s won’t nominate Shehbaz for PM’

Party insiders, who are close to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, told Bol News that he is making an all-out effort to keep both the camps intact till the next general elections otherwise it would deal the party a decisive blow.

“Nawaz Sharif has made up his mind that if his party comes to power after 2023 elections, then PML-N’s prime minsiter candidate will either be his daughter Maryam or some other senior leader but not his younger brother,” a senior party leader told Bol News on the condition of anonymity.

A party source claimed that Nawaz will repeat history as he did in 2017 after his ouster in 2017 by choosing someone like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to become the prime minister of Pakistan over his younger brother.

“He [Nawaz] will make sure that Shehbaz and his group stays in the party and there are no defections but when the time comes to nominate the leader for the key slot, he [Nawaz] will not nominate his younger brother,” said another senior party leader.

The PML-N leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, shared that the former prime minister has decided that his political heir is Maryam. He added that the PML-N supremo fears that if Shehbaz is put in the driving seat then it would end Maryam’s political future as he may transfer the chain of command to Hamza.

“There is definitely a trust deficit within the Sharif family which is becoming quite obvious every day and both the camps are not on the same page due to which there are two contradicting narratives prevalent in the party,” said the PML-N leader.

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