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Friday January 27, 2023

Maryam’s elevation furthers Sharif political dynasty

January 07, 2023
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz arrives to address a press conference in Islamabad on July 25, 2022. — AFP
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz arrives to address a press conference in Islamabad on July 25, 2022. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: There is quite an uneasiness among the seasoned second tier leadership of PMLN over the appointment of Maryam Nawaz as senior vice president and chief organiser of the party.

Sources in the PMLN lament that there has been no consultation done prior to making this appointment, which has made Maryam Nawaz the third most powerful figure in the party after her father Nawaz Sharif and uncle Shehbaz Sharif. Many senior PMLN leaders are upset with this appointment.

Following the recent notification issued by the PMLN president, Maryam Nawaz has formally become the second senior-most leader in the party after the PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Officially because of the Supreme Court’s decision, Nawaz Sharif cannot hold any office in the PMLN’s hierarchy but he continues to be the party’s supreme leader (Sarparast-e-Aala).

“This decision is undemocratic and is aimed at furthering the Sharifs’ political dynasty,” a senior PMLN leader told The News on condition of not being named. He said that hardly any senior party leader outside the Sharif family was consulted while making this appointment.

The likes of Khawaja Asif, Tanvir Hussain, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Raja Zafarul Haq, everybody is now junior to Maryam Nawaz. It is said that earlier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the only senior vice president while there were over a dozen vice presidents, including Maryam Nawaz.

Now Maryam Nawaz becomes the second senior-most after President Shehbaz Sharif for being both the senior vice president and chief organiser.

One of the PMLN leaders lamented that the Sharif family or those closely associated with them have the first right to hold every key positions whether within the party or in the government. He, on condition of anonymity, said that the PMLN’s supreme leader is Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother is President of PMLN and also the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz is senior vice president and chief organiser of PMLN. Shehbaz Sharif’s elder son Hamza Shehbaz is the opposition leader in Punjab. Ignoring all others, Hamza was picked up as Punjab chief minister last year while his father was the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Many in the party think that the likes of Khawaja Saad Rafique and Malik Ahmad Khan would have been much better choice for the office of Punjab chief minister but the Sharif family decided in favour of their own son. Hamza, however, could survive as Punjab CM hardly for a few months.

None of the two sons of Nawaz Sharif are interested in politics whereas Shehbaz Sharif’s younger son Suleman Shehbaz is looking after the family business.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is closely related to Nawaz Sharif, is again quite influential within the party because of the same reason. Dar is also the President of PMLN’s overseas chapter. Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law and Maryam’s spouse Capt (R) Safdar is the President of PMLN’s Youth Wing.

According to a PMLN leader, even Junaid Safdar, the son of Maryam Nawaz, is being propagated by the party’s social media team as the future of N-League. Junaid, however, has not yet joined politics.

The senior PMLN leadership outside the Sharif family will even be subordinate to Junaid when he will be in politics, a party source said, adding that democracy has taken a back seat with regard to internal politics of PMLN.

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