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March 14, 2018

PML-N organisational blues overcome with Shahbaz election as its chief


March 14, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The organisational blues that the two Supreme Court judgments gave to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), ousting Nawaz Sharif as its president twice, were largely overcome with Shahbaz Sharif’s election as its chief.

The crisis that hit the party was further surmounted with Nawaz Sharif’s nomination as the PML-N’s supreme leader, who will mainly run its election campaign for the next parliamentary polls. Regardless of this informal position, he, in any case, was going to the final say in the PML-N decision-making because of his standing and stature as the party revolves around him.

The total reliance of PML-N “hawks” and “doves” is on his popular appeal to win the fresh general election. Among others, this very fact has kept the party a unified force whose leaders see no future in any other political party. Only a few, who have their own grievances and grudges, have said goodbye to it, but these desertions have not created any major dent in it.

The mere unchallenged election of Shahbaz Sharif made it evident that the Sharifs have a total grip over the PML-N, which is united and prospering at the public level under their leadership. Even otherwise, the most suitable person to take up the mantle of the party presidency was none but Shahbaz Sharif because of his tremendous performance and delivery in Punjab that saw unprecedented progress during his incumbency.

The PML-N is depending on the massive work especially mega projects executed by Shahbaz Sharif over the past eight years. He left other three provinces far behind in development and performance, which has created fears among his opponents in relation to the faring in the forthcoming parliamentary election.

After his usual uncontested election, Shahbaz Sharif, in his speech to the party convention, did not touch upon even a single controversial issue but he reposed complete confidence in his elder brother’s leadership. "Nawaz Sharif can be considered the political heir of Quaid-i-Azam. We are lucky to have been blessed with a Quaid like Nawaz Sharif. Today is not a day to celebrate because the world knows that my party's leader has been targeted and I am sure he will get justice.”

Shahbaz Sharif skipped the election of the Senate chairman and his deputy in a dubious manner by collecting a motley crowd. Instead, he kept up his soft approach, staying away from the consistent aggressive line adopted by Nawaz Sharif. However, he did take on Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari and said they together can’t overpower the PML-N and it will be proven in the polls.

First, Nawaz Sharif had to leave the top party office due to the July 28, 2017 apex court judgment in the Panama case. He quickly vacated it. However, he regained the office after the parliamentary approval of the Elections Act, 2017 after sometime. Again, he had to relinquish the position after the apex court knocked down his presidency.

Shahbaz Sharif, the next prime minister of the PML-N, read from a prepared text. His address was relatively brief and did not cause ripple anywhere. The fact that he had a written speech to deliver showed that he wants to be careful and cautious in his remarks.

However, the ousted prime minister’s address was as usual powerful, hard-hitting and elaborate. His focus was on “respect the vote” refrain that he has vociferously built since his expulsion from office and he stated that this is his election manifesto. He recounted his hard work and successes as the prime minister and questioned the wisdom behind dismissing him despite the fact that not a single corruption charge was established against him. “I was punished for serving the people, a mission I will continue unhindered, and nobody can stop him from that.”

Nawaz Sharif reserved the harshest attack for Imran Khan-Zardari combine in regard to Monday’s election of the chairman and his deputy. “We won despite our defeat and you lost despite your victory.”

The ex-premier dubbed this election as a shabby political drama that attracted the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to bow before Quetta (independent group of senators). But he did not mention the slipping of nearly half a dozen votes from its own PML-N or its allied parties, bringing about the rout.

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