PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has timely acted and suspended the basic membership of his son-in-law to stop further erosion in the party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Capt (Retd) Safder who was made president of the PML-N Youth Wing had developed severe differences with the party’s KP President Pir Sabir Shah and senior party leader and former Chief Minister KP Sardar Mehtab Abbasi. Cap (retd) Safdar, Pir Sabir Shah and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi belonged to Hazara belt of KP and each of them was trying to have control of the party command in the province where the PML-N was struggling with election a few months ahead.
It is learnt that Safdar has been promoting Amir Muqam who has just joined the PML-N after defecting from the PML-Q.
Sources claimed that Capt (retd) Safdar had given assurance to Amir Muqam of getting him appointed as the PML-N President of KP and afterwards smoothing his way towards the office of chief minister of the province after the general election. Likewise, insiders alleged that after becoming President of the Youth Wing, Safdar had started interfering in the political affairs of KP which annoyed political stalwarts and senior party leadership of the province. The sources further said that Capt (retd) Safdar was trying to bring former Federal Minister Ammanullah Jadoon, who was arch political rival of Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, in the PML-N without taking Abbasi into confidence. Likewise, he had directly started doling out party portfolios among the workers without routing the matter from the office of party president Pir Sabir Shah. Adding fuel to fire, Safdar had termed Pir Sabir Shah and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi Mir Sadiq and Mir Jafar (traitors) in the PML-N which caused a strong upheaval in the party.
The two leaders, considered to be very loyal to Nawaz Sharif, met with him in Murree last week and apprised him of the entire situation in KP with special reference to the activities of Capt (retd) Safdar.
Listening to their grievances, Nawaz Sharif not only condemned his son-in-law’s statement but also stated that these were his personal views and the party had nothing to do with it.
Sources said the party workers in KP were annoyed with the party leadership especially the steps taken by Capt (retd) Safdar for promoting Amir Muqam who had a short political career comprising only 10 years when he contested 2002 general polls from MMA platform. Afterwards, he joined the PML-Q and contested 2007 elections. Sources said Muqam wanted to join the PTI but Imran Khan refused to take him due to some of his reservations just as he had rejected ANP’s Fareed Taufan and PPP’s Arbab Khizar Hayat who afterward joined the PML-N.
On the other hand, former PML-N Secretary General Saranjam Khan is already annoyed with the party leadership and had even announced leaving it but he was convinced not to do that later on. Now he is vying to contest upcoming polls from PML-N platform and aspiring to hold key slots in the party after bypassing senior party loyal leaders.
The party workers alleged that Amir Muqam had already been enjoying portfolio of Senior Vice-Chairman of the PML-N, left by Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, who got it after his 30 years association with the party.
The political workers have strong association with Pir Sabir Shah and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi. They claim that the two leaders remained steadfast with the party, rejecting all allurements during the dictatorial regime of Musharraf. Insiders claimed that if Nawaz Sharif had not taken the strong action against his son-in-law, the majority of the office-bearers were almost ready to surrender their resignation to the party leadership as a protest. Now they have welcomed the decision of the Nawaz Sharif amidst claims that it had saved the party from further deterioration.
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, talking with The News, stated that he had always dealt with Safdar and other younger members of the Sharif family with respect and had nothing against them. He claimed that he was still trying to understand as what had actually gone wrong which created differences. He claimed that he believed that all the wings of the party, like the Youth Wing and provincial chapters, should work under some command and regulations. He admitted that Amir Muqam wanted to be the party President in KP initially but Nawaz Sharif had disapproved it as he did not want to hand over the party command to a new entrant which was a bold decision. He stated he did not feel that Capt (Retd) Safdar was promoting Amir Muqam at their cost. Nevertheless, he claimed that the objectionable comments from Safdar against him and Pir Sabir Shah had damaged the party. He appreciated the Nawaz’ decision and claimed that it was unprecedented in Pakistan and he did not want to say anything which could mar this good spirit.
When contacted, PML-N Secretary General Zafar Iqbal Jhagra stated that they had suspended the membership of Capt (retd) Safdar after they received complaints from Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and Pir Sabir Shah that Safdar had termed them as Mir Sadiq and Mir Jafar in the PML-N in a public meeting. He claimed that he had personally enquired from Safdar about the allegation but he had denied it. He claimed that the senior leaders would provide them with the evidence and then they would proceed forward. He claimed that there were differences among the leaders in KP which had damaged the party a lot. He claimed that they had evidence that some miscreants in KP were spreading rumours and were involved in misleading the leadership, adding that they were probing the matter and would unmask such conspirators.
When asked about involvement of Amir Muqam in the entire issue, Jhagra stated that he had no role in it. He claimed that Pir Sabir Shah had issues with Safdar but he had not so far said anything against Amir Muqam. He stated that the allegation that Safdar was promoting Amir Muqam out of the way would be revealed after the enquiry. He admitted that there were strong differences within party ranks in KP which had adversely damaged the party, adding that steps were being taken to ensure removal of differences among the party workers.
Even Maryam Nawaz, in her tweet messages, welcomed the decision of Nawaz Sharif and claimed that he had set a new precedent in the country through initiating action against his own family members without any discrimination. She claimed in her tweets that Safdar had taken the move very positively and vowed to abide by the party rules and regulations in the future.