Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday, during a meeting called to choose an interim party president, elected Nawaz Sharif as “party’s Quaid (leader) for life” while Shahbaz Sharif was elected as interim President.
During PML-N Central Working Committee meeting Raja Zafarul Haq, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif presented the proposal to make Nawaz ‘leader for life’. After taking the decision to announce Nawaz as ‘Quaid for life’, party leaders termed that decision reflects the will of people and nobody has the right to challenge it. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was elected unopposed as the acting president of PML-N after Nawaz proposed his name to the loud applause. The meeting was called following a Supreme Court ruling ordering the removal of Nawaz Sharif as party chief.
Nawaz Sharif once again criticized court’s verdict of his disqualification from the party presidency and termed the decision as one taken during the dictatorial regimes. He added that there were no dictators ruling the country at present but the decisions taking place were like the ones made during dictatorships. Nawaz in an unveiled reference to the judiciary asked “Do you expect that you keep on taking oaths under PCO and we’ll continue to respect your decisions?”, referring to those judges who had taken oath under a provisional constitutional order (PCO) issued by the then military ruler Pervaiz Musharraf.
Decision of making Shahbaz as president has also brushed aside speculations of rift in the two branches of Sharif family. Now it seems that if party wins the next elections, probably Shahbaz Sharif would be the candidate to become prime minister. It has been reported in the past that Shahbaz Shairf has expressed his reservations on the policy of criticizing judiciary as he kept him side from maligning the courts. It would be clear in few next coming days that interim president of the party will continue with the party’s stance to continue confrontation with judiciary or will turn his focus towards the next general elections. Shahbaz also has task ahead of him keeping the other party leaders united as party stalwart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, who was missing in the meeting, has showed serious differences with the recent party policies. Exchange of heated allegations also took place between Ch Nisar and other party leaders. It would be in the best interest of the party if interim president put all his focus of the next general elections and come out from the party’s current policy of confrontation with the judiciary.
Time will decide that Shahbaz opposes current party policy of confrontation with judiciary or continues with it.