Home News Analysis PML-N reshuffles; revolt against Sharif family?

PML-N reshuffles; revolt against Sharif family?

Saad Rafique and Mian Javed Latif denounced PML-N decisions reportedly not happy with the unjust favoritism. Workers want a new squeaky clean leadership.

reshuffles

News Analysis |

PML-N is prone to revolt from the second-tier leadership within the party owing to the largest reshuffle in the ranks of the party. The reshuffle came amidst mounting pressure from the leaders dubbing the reshuffle as “unjust”. The party leaders were seen dispelling the reports regarding a rift between Sharif brothers.

New Noteworthy Appointments

On 3rd May, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif after consultation with the former PM Nawaz, announced central office bearers of the party. Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elevated to the post of Senior Vice President of PML-N. He is the only senior vice-president of the party in the wake of the change of the party’s office-bearers announced on Friday.

After the senior vice-president, the other two top positions have gone to PML-N stalwarts Ahsan Iqbal (Central Secretary General) and Rana Sanaullah (President of the PML-N, Punjab). Rana Tanvir was nominated as chairman Public Accounts Committee replacing Shahbaz Sharif who resigned from the post and is currently in London undergoing a medical examination. Shahbaz is out on a bail on cases against him filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf decided on Monday to challenge ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter’s appointment as Vice President of party in court.

Hanif Abbasi who was found guilty and jailed on ephedrine case and released after 9 months has been made Senior Vice President of Punjab. Similarly, Miftah Ismail was awarded the seat of senior vice president of Sindh. He had been the de-facto Finance Minister under former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after August 2018 till the formation of the interim govt before July 2018 elections.

Hamza Shahbaz has also been made a VP, a role that he has been assigned for the first time in the central structure of the party. Despite his wish, he could not get a top position in the party’s Punjab chapter which was given to Nawaz Sharif’s loyalist, Rana Sanaullah.

In the same reshuffle, Maryam Nawaz has been inducted in the party for the first time as Vice President. Maryam’s appointment has been dubbed illegal by many in the legal circles and declared so by Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan who stated “this is not just illegal but a violation of the code of conduct laid down by Election Commission of Pakistan.

Read more: Govt is in panic over Maryam Nawaz’s party position

Is Maryam Nawaz Eligible to Hold a Seat?

Legal experts maintain that Maryam’s conviction in July 2018 by NAB courts regarding Avenfield apartments’ case still stands. The sentence was subsequently suspended by a division bench of Islamabad High Court in Sept 2018, yet experts retain that unless the sentence is fully overturned by a higher court a mere suspension of the sentence does not allow her to hold public office deeming it a violation of the code of conduct by ECP.

PTI to Take Maryam’s Appointment to Court

The ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf decided on Monday to challenge ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter’s appointment as Vice President of party in court.

“Maryam Nawaz is convicted from the court, how can she hold a party position?” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters. He said the political heir of the former prime minister was given a temporary relief as her jail term was suspended by the court, but her conviction remained intact.

Maryam Nawaz herself has been convicted by the court and sentenced to 7 years in jail in the Avenfield apartment case and her sentence has merely been suspended by Islamabad high court in September 2018.

PML-N has widely been criticized for their illegal appointments including Ishaq Dar, who is in self-exile in London after conviction from the courts as party President for International Affairs, Hanif Abbasi as Senior Vice President of Punjab and Maryam herself as Vice President.

Prominent Party Leaders are not Happy

Ayaz Sadiq, a senior member of PML-N and former speaker of National Assembly had acknowledged in the first week of May while talking to media that a demand from the workers of PML-N for change in the top tier leadership of the party is there who wants a more vigilant leadership.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Saad Rafique and Mian Javed Latif lambasted their party over the late decision to change the parliamentary leader and the formation of an establishment group within the party while top-notch leader, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while addressing a seminar in Narowal said “Those who think the recent shuffling in PML-N was because of some differences in the party leadership live in a fool’s paradise” emphasizing that Nawaz and Shahbaz’s narrative is same.

Read more: PTI challenges Maryam’s party position before ECP

Other sources in the PML-N points out that the workers are not very happy with a leadership that looks too compromising, they want leaders not tainted by the charges of corruption and who would not find themselves restricted while attacking the PTI govt.

PML-N, PPP Joining Hands  

It is also being hinted that PML-N may join PPP and Maulana Fazal ur Rehman after Ramadan to launch a movement of agitation against Imran khan’s govt. on issues of inflation, budget and incompetency in handling serious issues.

Whether the party would be able to function without a Sharif at the top will become clear in next several weeks especially if the party joins the agitation move being threatened by Maulana Fazal ur Rehman. 

The argument that the workers present is that the leadership is tainted by the charges of corruption against them. Hanif Abbasi has just been released on bail on ephedrine case which is still not over. He has spent 9 months in prison pertaining to that case. Maryam Nawaz herself has been convicted by the court and sentenced to 7 years in jail in the Avenfield apartment case and her sentence has merely been suspended by Islamabad high court in September 2018.

The decision too has been labeled “very controversial” by the legal community and media analysts. Supreme Court itself had strong remarks about the decision pertaining to the issue regarding Maryam’s bail. Her freedom continues to be hanging by a thread that could snap at any moment. Hamza Shahbaz is in deep waters facing legal difficulties at the hand of NAB.

Read more: Nawaz is back to Kot Lakhpat: PML-N has formally launched Maryam…

Irrespective of all that, for the first time PML-N is in a phase where the top hierarchy is not held by a member of the Sharif family which in itself is a very significant change. Whether the party would be able to function without a Sharif at the top will become clear in next several weeks especially if the party joins the agitation move being threatened by Maulana Fazal ur Rehman. Titles, positions, and responsibilities have been reshuffled with an aim to infuse some energy into the sleep-inducing performance of the party. It remains to be seen how the new leadership of PML-N plays its role in this agitation move against the govt.

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