News Analysis |
On Monday, severe differences in the PML(N) ranks were witnessed during an altercation between the leaders Khwaja Saad Rafique and Ahsan Iqbal. Saad Rafique criticized Ahsan Iqbal’s remarks when he was stopped by Rangers personnel from entering a court. Ahsan Iqbal after being stopped had threatened to resign from his post as Interior Minister.
This group has tried to placate the anti-system group by allowing Nawaz Sharif to become the head of the PML(N) in order to divert from their crusade to end his tenure
He said that such conduct was not proper and it threatened the system. He compared Iqbal’s conduct to a vigilante bent on overturning the system at all cost and said it should be clear whether the party wanted to rule or not. Ahsan Iqbal countered by saying that the situation demanded such a response and he would not want to be a powerless minister.
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A statement was also given by the Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah who said: “Chaudhry Nisar as the interior minister did not have any more authority than what Ahsan Iqbal has today.” and said that Nisar faced similar issues in asserting his authority.
Issuing a rebuttal to Rana Sanaullah’s statement, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s spokesperson said: “There is no need for anyone to give a statement on the authority exercised by the former interior minister, and no one holds right to give their opinion on the matter.”
A feeling is now prevailing in party ranks that the longer the PML(N) tarried the more chance it would not only lose the next elections but the party would unravel with Nawaz Sharif no longer in control
Differences within the PML(N) ranks have started to become more and more evident with the passage of time as the accountability of Nawaz Sharif and his immediate kin continues. Differences such as the Chaudary Nisar vs Lahori group have been around for a while, present since the May 2013 elections, more and more cracks have started to emerge within the PML-N ranks all seeking to expand their power base.
Many cite that the current fighting has more to do with the path the PML(N) will follow after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif. For a time it was thought that in the run-up to the NA120 elections, that the PML(N) was committed to remaining in government for the full tenure of its period, however after the results of the NA120 election thinking has changed.
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Differences within the PML(N) ranks have started to become more and more evident with the passage of time as the accountability of Nawaz Sharif and his immediate kin continues
It can be considered that after the rather lackluster result of NA-120 by-elections and the poor performance of PML(N) and by extension Nawaz’s heir apparent, Maryam Nawaz, the divisions appearing among many PML(N) ranks are now visible. A feeling is now prevailing in party ranks that the longer the PML(N) stay in power, the greater the chance it would lose the next elections as the party unravels.
Therefore, Nawaz Sharif and his group are on a warpath. It aims to start of a clash of institutions and destabilize the current government in order to preempt early polls. This is much apparent with the speeches of Nawaz against the judiciary, the constant references by certain PML(N) leaders to “Hidden forces” out to sabotage PML(N) efforts, Khawaja Asif statements in the USA and “democracy” as well as eye-catching incidents such as the one occurring with Ahsan Iqbal present.
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Ahsan Iqbal countered by saying that the situation demanded such a response and he would not want to be a powerless minister
However, this pro-Nawaz group faces a formidable challenge from within its own ranks. The opposing group revolves around the current Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi who desires the system to continue as they believe such a course will be beneficial to the PML(N) in the long turn. They believe that they should work with the other institutions to preserve the system otherwise they will suffer the most.
This group has tried to placate the anti-system Nawaz group by changing the party’s constitution and allowing Nawaz Sharif to stay the head of the PML(N), in order to divert from their crusade to end his tenure. So far appeasement has not worked.