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August 17, 2017

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Yaqoob likely to be PML-N’s interim head

LAHORE: Senator Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar may become the interim president of Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N), after his name was proposed by former premier Nawaz Sharif and approved by the party’s senior leadership, sources told The News. 

The decision is likely to be announced formally today (Thursday) after the party’s central working committee meeting in Islamabad to give formal approval of his appointment.  According to details shared by sources, in a meeting at his residence, Nawaz discussed Nasar’s interim presidency with the senior party leadership. The proposal was discussed in detail and it was not met by many objections and the party members more or less unanimously agreed on the decision. 

Nasar, who currently serves as the party’s senior vice president, was elected senator in 2015 after party stalwart Iqbal Zafar Jhagra became the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  Currently serving as senator, Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar was elected as an MNA from Loralai constituency on the ticket of the PML-N in the past.

He has also served as the provincial president and central vice president of the party. Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar is the leader of the Nasar tribe, which is a Pashtun Khilji tribe and holds significant influence in Balochistan. He is also considered as close aide to Nawaz Sharif. 

The appointment of an interim party president, however,  is a rather unusual event under the current circumstances. It was widely believed that the PML-N had a clear-cut strategy figured out where Shahbaz Sharif was due to be the successor of Nawaz after August 8, the ECP notified the PML-N to elect its new president as according to the Political Parties Order (2002), as a disqualified person cannot hold the key party position. 

However, with this step of appointing an interim party president, the PML-N has hinted that it is wary of the rapidly evolving political situation in the country and is not playing their final hand just as yet. The sudden escalation of the Model Town case affair, PAT chief’s aggressive political strategy and the entire PML-N’s opposition throwing all its weight behind Tahirul Qadri is seemingly enough for the PML-N to sense a second storm heading their way. This interim appointment is likely to last till the end of this election term, sources added. 

The appointment of the party head is also important because in the likelihood of a possible in-house change being attempted against the PML-N, the party president is the only office-holder who can file the request for disqualification of a member who chooses to vote against party lines. 

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