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November 14, 2020

One PML-N leader withdraws from frontline politics

Top Story

November 14, 2020

LONDON: A veteran PML-N leader from Lahore has said Nawaz Sharif’s latest position on the security establishment is like “blowing hot and cold” as the PML-N supremo allowed the party lawmakers to vote for the extension of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa a few months ago and now he had adopted a different stance.

On condition of anonymity, the PML-N leader said most party leaders were not fully convinced with Nawaz Sharif’s latest anti-establishment narrative. The leader said many party stalwarts were left “in a state of shock” to see their leader making direct references about the present military leadership during the Gujranwala rally of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The Lahore leader, who has enjoyed senior positions in the PML-N, told The News: “You are blowing hot and cold here. At one point you ask us to vote for him (the army chief) in Parliament. Now we are being asked to toe a different line; a hostile, non-conciliatory line. Would not the historian question us over this paradox?”

He said: “Let’s see what comes out of this change. If someone thinks this is how revolution takes place, one is totally mistaken.”

He said there were reasons to be optimistic too, adding: “The PML-N cannot do anything alone. However PDM could make a difference if it continues to gel together, and comes up with a new charter that promises a new beginning and more peaceful coexistence where the political rivals do not challenge each other the way they did in the past.”

The PML-N leader claimed that senior leaders in the PML-N also believe that changing tone and tenor of the party could be quite counter-productive.

He revealed: “I have recently withdrawn myself from active politics. Let us see what happens next,” adding he was not taking part in the preparations to make PDM’s Lahore public gathering successful. While some old guards of the party are critical of the party’s changing line against establishment, the new generation of leadership finds hope and a better future in the new narrative.

“The younger lot is more charged and forthcoming as far as the new narrative is concerned,” claimed Talat Hussain, a political analyst and journalist from Islamabad.

“Nawaz has drawn new redlines which no one can cross. All leaders especially closer to establishment will have to play the ball around these redlines but no one is allowed to go beyond the redlines,” commented Talat Hussain.

Meanwhile, some other UK-based party sources denied any discontentment or differences in the party at any level. One of them said he saw no future for any politician outside the party fold led by Nawaz Sharif.

He said: “Even the PDM has no future if they drop the narrative followed by the PML-N leader. Nawaz Sharif right now is more popular than before. People like his new style of politics.”

He also confided to The News that Nawaz had given the option to all party leaders in the recent Central Workers Committee (CWC) meeting to leave him if they do not see eye to eye with him. “It hardly bothers the party if the likes of Abdul Qadir Baloch quit. Sooner the better,” he said.

The PTI government spokesmen have said that there is a lingering discontentment in the former ruling party. The PTI leaders have said that they see a group in the PML-N taking shape soon. They have said that a group of senior PML-N leaders have withdrawn themselves from active party politics and the same group is expressing their reservations in private gatherings these days.