In a talk-show on ARY News with prominent anchorperson Kashif Abbasi, Usman Dar, the ruling party’s senior leader, asked Mian Javed Latif, senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), as to who was behind Khawaja Asif’s electoral win in 2018? Mian Javed Latif suggested to form a commission and determine as to who was behind this win. “I want you to name them. Be brave and name them,” Latif challenged Dar.
There have been media reports suggesting a possible political engineering in Sialkot where Khawaja Asif won the elections. Recently, in a meeting with Opposition leaders, the COAS reportedly pointed out that Khawaja Asif made him call on the eve of elections. “Didn’t you make me calls and sought my help?” COAS reportedly asked Asif.
Notably, during a party meeting a few months ago, Javed Latif said that the party leadership should consult more members before making decisions. He insisted that the party should take practical steps as “targets cannot be achieved by talking”. He urged the party leadership to “move forward and prepare the party for protest”. Latif also predicted that the party will have to face tough criticism as it had “made a mistake which would be realised in times to come”. He did not specify the “mistake” he was referring to.
On September 24, Sheikh Rasheed Ahamd, Federal Minister for Railways, claimed that Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal had one-on-one meetings with the army chief and Lt Gen Faiz Hameed (the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence. “I waited till the end because I had to give my book to the army chief and that’s when I saw Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Asif having a one-on-one conversation with Gen Faiz,” he said.
Elections 2018 in Pakistan
Some analysts in Pakistan and international media have been focusing on Pakistan’s elections, terming it as the dirtiest elections in the history of Pakistan. But the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) expressed satisfaction over the July 25, 2018, election and overall process.
The independent watchdog said the elections were free, fair and transparent. Although there were minor irregularities in the electoral process, yet the overall election was free and fair, and, hence, its results are “credible”, it added.
Maryam and Khawaja not on the same page?
On March 11, 2020, GVS reported a tussle among the PML-N ranks. Reliable sources claim that Maryam Nawaz and Khawaja Asif, and some other senior leaders, are not ready to work under each other’s leadership.
Sources said the party leaders also questioned the role of Khawaja Asif as the parliamentary leader and the party’s decision to support the extension given to the army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Asif shrugged off the criticism, saying he also used to make passionate speeches when he was “young”. About the extension to the army chief, he said the party leadership took the decision of supporting the extension bill.
PML-N’s ‘unconditional’ support for army chief’s extension
The PTI presented the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2020, in the National Assembly (NA) to give extension in service to the Army Chief, PML-N and PPP offered their ‘unconditional‘ support.
A delegation of PTI lawmakers comprising Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Leader of the House for the Senate Shibli Faraz and Senator Azam Swati called on PML-N leaders where the latter assured their support for the proposed amendments.
Read More: Elections 2018: A massive political exercise
The PML-N delegation comprised Khawaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Tanvir, among others. PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan, while talking to media, said that the party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif gave the nod to support the amendments through consensus.