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Confusion prevails regarding ‘ambiguous’ agenda of PML-N top leaders’ visit to Karachi

March 09, 2020

Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Sindh and political analysts are still perplexed about the ambiguous agenda of the party’s top leadership’s two-day visit to Karachi recently.

The PML-N delegation that visited the city was comprised of the party’s central vice-president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, secretary general and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb and Senator Musadiq Malik. They arrived in Karachi on Thursday.

During the two-day visit, they met Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) leaders, particularly its convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who resigned from the federal cabinet in January in protest against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) not fulfilling its promises that the latter inked with the MQM-P before forming a coalition government in the Centre.

The PML-N delegation also met Dr Farooq Sattar, an MQM-P’s disgruntled leader, and the Jamaat-e-Islami’s city leadership, including its Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman. The PML-N leaders had also planned to meet the Pak Sarzameen Party leadership but it was skipped.

The PML-N’s top leaders also did not address its workers’ convention in the city, which disappointed the local workers of the party. They only attended a meeting of around two dozens of local leaders to discuss the party’s organisational affairs in Sindh and Karachi, The News has learnt.

Upon discussing the recent visit of the top PML-N delegation with some Sindh leaders of the party, it was revealed that there was confusion prevailing among the party’s provincial leaders about the visit. “The party’s Sindh leaders, except provincial secretary general and former federal minister Miftah Ismail, were not aware of the objective of the visit of the party’s high-powered delegation to Karachi,” said a provincial office-bearer, requesting anonymity.

The PML-N Sindh leader said that as the MQM-P, a key ally of the PTI in the federal government, had recently resigned from the federal cabinet, there was a rationale behind the PML-N leaders visiting the MQM-P secretariat. “But what is the rationale behind meeting Sattar and JI Karachi chief. There is no match when the PML-N’s central leadership meets the Karachi chief of a party [JI],” he said and added that Sattar also did not entertain the offer of the PML-N’s top leaders to join their party.

He also discussed how the visit also disappointed leaders of the opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, who were expecting that the PML-N’s top leaders would meet them to discuss the future strategy for anti-government protests in the country.

The party sources, however, disclosed that the PML-N central leaders attended a meeting of 22 local leaders at the Muslim League House Sindh, the party’s provincial office, to settle differences among the party leaders at the province and city levels as PML-N Sindh President Shah Muhammad Shah and Karachi President Salman Khan are running two parallel organisational structures of the party in Karachi.

“In the meeting, the PML-N’s top leaders formed two committees to resolve the differences among leaders. After the party’s central president Shahbaz Sharif’s approval, the committees will present their reports within three weeks,” said a leader, who attended the meeting.