LAHORE: The PML-N leadership on Wednesday remained divided between wholeheartedly joining the Azadi March of Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Islamabad and refraining from it, leaving the decision solely at the discretion ofi party supremo Nawaz Sharif who will decide it today, when Shahbaz Sharif puts before him all the suggestions.
At a meeting chaired by PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif at his residence, the senior leaders were not in favour of participating in the Azadi March primarily because of Maulana Fazlur Rehman's solo flight, sources said. However, the junior leadership advocated joining the march because it would support the very ideals and causes pursued by the PML-N in its campaign against the PTI government, the sources added.
The heavy presence of the PML-N leadership made the meeting of the Central Executive Committee a very important affair, as almost all the senior leaders besides the parliamentarians and provincial leaders attended it. They deliberated upon the available options for ridding the country of what they called selected government which had ruined every sector of the country’s economic and social life.
According to the sources, the arguments put forward by the senior stalwarts for refraining from participating in the Azadi March included that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is trying to make a solo flight as he took all the major decisions about the timing and modus operandi of the march by himself. The PML-N leaders were quoted as saying that Maulana refused to consider PML-N’s request to postpone the march for one month, besides ignoring the platform of the APC and its recommendations on the issue. More importantly, the sources said, the senior leaders were skeptical of the real motives of Maulana Fazlur Rehman since he had not made the actual purpose clear. They were quoted as saying that Maulana has not yet disclosed the modus operandi whether he would end the show only by staging the march or was going to stage a long sit-in. If there is a sit-in, how long would it be and for what objectives?
However, the junior leaders were of the view that the PML-N must not waste this opportunity to bring the actual public sentiments against the PTI government out on the streets to arrest the unbridled moves the PTI government is making against the wishes and interests of the hapless masses, the sources said. The entire country was out on their feet protesting against the cruel policies of the Imran Khan government that has brought all the businesses to a halt and made the economy nosedive. They warned that if the PML-N leadership does not join the JUI-F and if the public backed Fazl's call, it could turn into a major anti-government movement, making it disastrous for the political future of the PML-N which is the largest opposition party.
Earlier, talking to the media after the meeting, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal condemned Prime Minister Imran Khan for maligning the country by calling it a corrupt nation. “I condemn the selected prime minister for dubbing the country a centre of money laundering and corruption while standing on the foreign soil,” he said, adding: “Imran is perhaps the first prime minister in the world to bring a bad name for his country by himself.” He said corruption is rife in many countries but none of their heads of governments ever told the outside world that their countries were corrupt. He said Imran Khan is on the path of defeating himself and destroying the case of his country, when he trumpets the tales of corruption and money laundering in his country during foreign visits and then invites the foreign investors. He said: “Imran is a man of sick mentality whose thoughts remain confined to victimizing the opposition.” He said in his US visit, Imran announced to remove TV and AC from Nawaz Sharif’s cell, and standing in China, he wished he could jail 500 opposition leaders.
On Rana Sanaullah's case, Ahsan said photographs proved that Imran made a fake narcotics case against Rana Sanaullah only to silence him. Similarly, he added, there is solid evidence against Judge Arshad Malik for sentencing Nawaz Sharif without proving his guilt. He said the entire country is in the grip of economic hardship resulting in large scale frustration which is threatening to break out in shape of an anti-government movement anytime. He said in the meeting, the PML-N leadership condemned the PTI leadership for provocative statements against Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and asked them to watch video clips of their own leader Imran Khan during the 2014 sit-in. He said the PML-N is actually becoming popular with the victimization of its leadership at the hands of the Imran government.
Ahsan said the PML-N has formulated suggestions for party head Nawaz Sharif regarding participating in the Azadi March, and the final decision would be made by him on Thursday (today).
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