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May 27, 2015

PML-N braving silent rebellion in Sindh and Karachi leaderships


May 27, 2015

Observers say that most of the newly-elected district leaders support Senator Nihal Hashmi, who currently leads the most powerful faction of the party in the province
By Zia Ur Rehman
Already suffering badly from factionalism within its ranks in Karachi, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is on the brink of capping another fissure over the recent appointments of new office-bearers in six districts of the city.
The party’s Sindh president, Muhammad Ismail Rahu, on May 19, had announced the dissolution of all district bodies with immediate effect.
“The announcement of new office bearers would soon be made after consultation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who heads the party,” a statement issued from the Muslim League House Sindh had stated.
The names of new office bearers were duly announced on May 22, after four days, and a notification issued by Sharif from Islamabad was conveyed to all party workers.

Favouritism to blame
The names and posts of the new office bearers are as follows: District Malir: Malik Muhammad Taj (president) and Naeem Kamran (general secretary); District Korangi: Ali Aashiq Gujjar (president) and Yaqoob Kaalro (general secretary); District West: Aman Khan Afridi (president) and Habib-ur-Rehman (general secretary); District East: Syed Nisar Shah (president) and Tahir Pervez Qureshi (general secretary); District South: Sultan Bahadur (president) and Raja Saeed (general secretary); and District Central: Zahid Ali Shah (president) and Aslam Khattak (general secretary).
However, interviews with PML-N workers suggest that certain provincial leaders wanted to replace a few district presidents and general secretaries with their own people. Najibullah Khan Niazi, a PML-N leader from district West, is one of those workers who aren’t happy with the party’s recent appointments.
According to him, the presidents and general secretaries of eight Sindh Assembly constituencies had elected him

as a district general secretary in the party elections and recommendations in this regard were also forwarded to the Karachi leadership.
“But despite that, they have now appointed an unpopular leader as a general secretary without even consulting the local leaders,” Niazi said. “We do not want factionalism in the party and we will also not allow anyone else to do so.” Another leader, Rana Safdar Javed, who was serving as the general secretary of Malir district till May 19, is also disappointed with party’s recent decisions.
He complained that certain provincial leaders had destroyed the party in Karachi because of their favouritism. “During Pervez Musharraf’s regime, no one was ready to lead the party in the district. Then I decided to become a secretary general in Malir and served from the position for 15 years. But the party leadership recently removed me without any prior consultation,” he said.
A number of local leaders of the PML-N, including Niazi and Javed, had announced to protest against the recent dissolution of district bodies by the Sindh leadership.
Meanwhile, Munawar Raza, the PML-N’s Karachi president, said the central leadership of the party had authorised the leaders in Sindh to select district office bearers.
“It is correct that they [Sindh leadership] have not consulted with all district leaders in the city. But it is also difficult to give a position to everyone,” he said while talking to The News.

On the other hand, insiders revealed that most of the newly-selected office bearers support Syed Nihal Hashmi, the party’s general secretary in Sindh who was recently elected as a Senator from Punjab.
Meanwhile, political observers opine that the PML-N has been facing a crisis of leadership in Sindh, and especially in Karachi, because of powerful intra-party groups led by party stalwarts in the province — Hashmi, Syed Ghous Ali Shah and Saleem Zia.
The group led by Nihal Hashmi — which reportedly also has the backing of President Mamnoon Hussain — garnered more power after the resignation of Ghous Ali Shah from his party membership and post.
According to Imtiaz Khan Faran, a Karachi-based political analyst, the PML-N has been facing an internal crisis in Sindh since 1999.
“Despite continuous efforts of the party leaders and rise of new ones in Sindh in the face of Ismail Rahu, the internal differences continue to affect the party’s integrity. This is evident in the resignations of several party leaders in the past few years,” he said.

Frustrated MPs
The PML-N won one National Assembly and three Sindh Assembly seats from different parts of Karachi. However, political analysts say that all of the elected parliamentarians from the city– Abdul Hakeem Baloch, Haji Shafi Jamot, Irfanullah Marwat and Humayun Khan – were able to win the seats mainly due to their own social and political influence. It was learnt that all the MPAs, except Khan, have not even been participating in party activities and have been preparing to field their own candidates.
“We are not even aware of the internal politics of PML-N in Sindh. It is so frustrating,” said one of the MPAs elected from Karachi. “The leaders who cannot even win the seat of union council Nazim are now the ones basically leading the party in Sindh and Karachi.”

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