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Is Shahbaz Sharif not coming back?

PML-N’s move to nominate Rana Tanveer as PAC chairman, Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader and discussions on appointing Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly has raised questions about Shahbaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan.

Shahbaz Sharif

News Desk |

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s move to nominate Rana Tanveer as Public Accounts Committee chairman and Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader on Thursday has triggered the debate if the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif would return from London or not.

The PML-N nominated Rana Tanveer as Shehbaz’s replacement as Public Accounts Committee chairman, the media reported, adding Khawaja Asif has been nominated as parliamentary leader. Asif was nominated parliamentary leader by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The ex-PM said that Khawaja Asif was made parliamentary leader on the request of Shahbaz Sharif. The media reports speculated that the decisions were taken after Shahbaz Sharif spoke with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

Shahbaz is currently in London receiving treatment and is expected to return to Pakistan on May 12. It was reported that Shahbaz felt that it was not right to continue with the chairmanship under the current circumstances.

Read more: Will Opposition use Shahbaz Sharif’s illness to seek sympathy?

The reports further said that he took the decision after consulting with his elder brother Nawaz, adding that Shahbaz had not wanted to become PAC chairman and had only assumed the post after the insistence of the opposition and parliamentary advisory group.

While quoting sources, Geo New reported that PML-N was also holding discussions on appointing Abbasi as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. However, the report said, a decision will be taken when Shahbaz returns to the country with the consultation of the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif.

Last year, Sharif was elected chairman of the parliamentary watchdog unopposed after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government conceded the chairmanship to the PML-N leader. The PML-N meeting was presided by Raja Zafar-ul-Haq and Asif and was attended by Abbasi, Tanveer, Khurram Dastagir, Mushahid Hussain and other members.

PTI’s Reaction

Responding to the PML-N’s announcement, Minister of State for Communications and Federal Minister for Postal Services Murad Saeed said that “the opposition had been protesting over the PAC chairmanship and had made it clear they will not let the Parliament function until Shahbaz had been elected.”

Read more: Shahbaz Sharif indicted in Ashiana Housing scandal: NRO or No NRO?

“Public money was spent on this and now when there are scandals and cases against them, they have decided to run out of the country,” he added.

Shahbaz will Return: Khawaja Asif

Meanwhile, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif said party president Shahbaz Sharif would return to Pakistan to attend the National Assembly’s budget session.

“Mian sb is our party’s leader. He is the opposition leader in the National Assembly and party president… Mian sb will lead the debate during the budget session,” Asif told reporters.

Read more: Shahbaz leaves for London

When asked out the changes in the PML-N, Asif said that work would improve when three positions are not held by the same person.

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