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Maryam Nawaz emerging as potential threat to PML-N rivals

By Ansar Abbasi
January 28, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Maryam Nawaz is expected to throw her hat in the ring for joining parliamentary politics in the 2018 general elections.

Hints coming from the ruling PML-N and particularly from the Maryam Nawaz-led media team of the PM House are unambiguously evident.  The prime minister’s daughter is being groomed as Nawaz Sharif’s political associate after none of the two sons of the premier -- Hussain or Hassan -- is keen to join politics.

Although, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is likely to continue enjoying his influence as second to Nawaz Sharif both in the Sharif family and the PML-N politics because of his performance, Maryam is being portrayed as the future of PML-N. 

During the recent months, a team of young PML-N MPs, who are part of Maryam Nawaz-led media cell being run from the PM House, have repeatedly referred to Maryam Nawaz as the future of PML-N. However, senior PML-N MPs and leaders are not part of this campaign.

On Wednesday, PML-N MNA Talal Chaudhry told the media that Imran Khan feels threatened by Maryam Nawaz even though she is not in politics. He wondered what would be the future of Imran Khan when Maryam would formally join politics.

On Tuesday, PML-N MNA Maiza Hameed, while talking to the media outside the apex court, said that Imran Khan and PTI are actually scared of the growing popularity of Maryam Nawaz.

Maiza termed Maryam Nawaz as the “emerging leader” of the PML-N. She said that Imran Khan and PTI are targeting Maryam Nawaz because of her increasing popularity as future leader of Pakistan.

When approached by this correspondent, Maiza said that what she said about Maryam Nawaz is her own political thinking. She said that the way Maryam Nawaz is contributing in the fields of education and health speaks volumes about her leadership potential.

Maiza said that Imran Khan feels threatened from the growing popularity of Maryam Nawaz. But Maiza is not the only one propagating for Maryam Nawaz. In the past too, on different occasions, members of the young media team of the PML-N have been found focusing on “image-building” of Maryam Nawaz as the future of the PML-N.

Maiza Hameed is among those young MPs, who regularly meet in the PM House under the leadership of Maryam Nawaz to devise strategy how to tackle the opposition and the media on issues including the Panama Papers haunting the prime minister and his government.

Talal Chaudhry, Daniyal Aziz, Muhammad Zubair and Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha are among those young N-Leaguers who are properly briefed and prepared by Maryam Nawaz how to defend the government and the Sharifs both in the media and against the opposition’s onslaught.

Maryium Aurangzeb, now the Minister of State for Information, too was member of Maryam Nawaz’s media team. It is said that Aurangzeb has been given the portfolio of information ministry on Maryam Nawaz’s strong recommendation. 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also engaged his daughter in different political assignments. A few times, the premier also chose to appreciate his daughter in public for her role in health and education sectors.

During the present tenure of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz has emerged as the most important possible future political aide of the ruling Sharif family. 

Hamza is already being discussed in the media as the future leader of the PML-N. However, Maryam Nawaz’s active role in media handling of the present Nawaz government has made her politically more threatening for PML-N’s political rivals.