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Top Story

November 14, 2017



Events before Sunday may redefine Nawaz’s tone: PML-N

LAHORE: The PML-N top brass on Monday decided that the events unfolding before former premier Nawaz Sharif’s Abbotabad rally on November 19 may redefine his narrative. 

The PML-N, in a high-level meeting at Jati Umra, discussed matters pertaining to the party’s upcoming mass-contact campaign, delaying tactics used by political parties regarding the mandatory legal process for election 2018 and the cases against the Sharif family.

The meeting, chaired by party president Nawaz Sharif, was attended by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Governor Rafiq Rajwana, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Pervaiz Rashid, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Daniyal Aziz, Asif Saeed Kirmani and others.

“It would be too soon to call what will be the tone of Nawaz Sharif on November 19 (Sunday) as there are still six days to go. There could be events during these six days that can redefine the tone,” said Pervaiz Rashid, while talking to The News.

He said although this issue was not the chief agenda of the meeting, it was unquestionable that Nawaz would present his stance regarding his disqualification to the people. “There is a difference between disagreeing and disputing certain actions of any institution and dismissing or clashing with the institutions,” he explained.

“Those who dismiss institutions and clash with them are sitting abroad, defying the rule of law, while on November 3, the very day the judiciary of the country was held hostage by a dictator, Nawaz Sharif appeared before the accountability process,” he said.

“Nawaz Sharif believes in and respects the system, however, he has every right to criticise a decision on fair grounds,” he added. There had been a noticeable split in the party narrative in reaction to the disqualification of Nawaz. While a source told The News the public-contact campaign will pivot around the narrative initiated by Nawaz in his post-disqualification GT Road rally, Shahbaz Sharif and those close to him adopted a rather conservative stance.  Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz and those known to be veterans and closer to Nawaz rather than Shahbaz criticised the ‘powers’ behind the grand conspiracy against the ousted prime minister. 

While the PTI and PPP have been busy conducting public meetings all across the country ahead of the 2018 elections, the PML-N delayed the public mobilisation campaign and the rally at Abbottabad had to be postponed till the 20th of this month. Sources privy to the developments told ‘The News’ that one of the major reasons for this delay was the indecision regarding the narrative to be adopted for the public meetings.

There were those who believed that the criticism needed to be toned down considerably and a more diverse approach should be adopted which would leave room for possible reduction in friction. At the same time, it was argued that itwould not be wise to completely backtrack from the narrative, which was also endorsed by non-partisan veterans of the legal fraternity and had effectively mobilised the workers and supporters successfully in Nawaz’s Islamabad-Lahore rally.

It was argued that not voicing Nawaz’s stance vis-à-vis the events leading to his disqualification would be seen by the party support base as a retreat and act as a de-motivator. The participants of the meeting unanimously rejected any eventuality minus-Nawaz, no matter how favourable it might apparently be.

The meeting also discussed the concerns about the timely conduct of general elections and decided that protesting against any probable delay in elections and tampering with the process would also be made part of the core narrative for the campaign.

The party leaders agreed that the elections should be held on time and an election cell must be established. The delaying tactics used by the political parties about the legal processes and how to deal with them was also on agenda.

As the cases filed against the Sharif family also came under discussion, the party bigwigs shared their opinion regarding how to deal with the possible scenarios that could culminate as a consequence of these cases.

Monitoring Desk adds: During the meeting Abbasi, Shahbaz and Ahsan advised Nawaz to pursue the politics of reconciliation. Shahbaz was of the opinion that nothing would be gained from confrontation which was going to result in damage only. Although, the former prime minister listened patiently to the arguments of both sides, he did not make any decision.