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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Shehbaz Sharif admits to meeting with COAS, DG ISI before APC

Shehbaz Sharif has confirmed that he met the COAS and DG ISI before the PPP-sponsored APC was held. He also maintained that matters related to Gilgit Baltistan were under discussion during the meeting.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif has finally confirmed his meeting with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa ahead of the All Parties Conference (APC).

Informally talking to media outside the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday, the PML-N leader said the discussion on Gilgit Baltistan matters was held during the meeting with the army chief. All the parliamentary leaders were also present on the occasion, he said.

Shehbaz Sharif said that the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is trying to oppress the PML-N. The decisions taken during APC will be implemented at any cost, he told the media.

Shehbaz met top military leadership

Geo News had reported on Monday that COAS General Bajwa and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Chief Faiz Hameed met the parliamentary leadership in Islamabad days before an opposition-led All Parties Conference (APC) castigated the present government over a host of issues.

During the press talk about holding APC, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had said that “the constitution of Pakistan does not allow us to consult the armed forces on political matters so we won’t consult them”. However, Shehbaz Sharif immediately added that “we can consult them on the matters related to security”.

Shehbaz is rumored to be close to establishment

Shehbaz Sharif is known for his working relationship with the establishment. Reliable sources within PML-N claim that the younger Sharif has never endorsed the idea of confrontational politics.

Shehbaz Sharif recently refused to meet Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari citing health issues. Political commentators believe that meeting did not take place as Shehbaz did not want to confront the establishment.

Read more: Is the Opposition looking for yet another NRO by targeting establishment?

A few months ago, Shehbaz Sharif said that just a month before the General Elections 2018, two renowned journalists approached him with a message regarding his chances of becoming the next prime minister.

The PML-N leader, in an interview with an Urdu daily, claimed that a month before the July election, names of potential cabinet members were being finalized in his meetings with ‘powerful circles’.

Shahbaz Sharif, often considered the establishment’s man, said that his relations with the Chaudhries of PML-Q are almost neutral. He said that there are no feelings of enmity between them anymore but there’s no talk of any joint political strategy with them as yet.

Shehbaz is long known for his pro-establishment views in his party. There have been some reports suggesting his differences with Nawaz and Maryam over the nature of the party’s relationship with the country’s powerful establishment.

Maryam was leading a segment of the party with the slogan of ‘vote ko izat do.’ She slammed the establishment for political engineering and getting favorable verdicts from courts. However, later on, Shehbaz’s approach appeared to have prevailed as the party not only offered unconditional support to amend the law to give extension in service to the Army Chief but also Maryam went silent.

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“Shehbaz Sharif is the establishment’s, next blue-eyed man. PM Imran is likely to remain in his seat but Shehbaz is certain to have an invisible role to reorganize his party to become a new force in Punjab,” a senior official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told GVS.