After vote’s respect, PML-N’s move for respect to party chief

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:32 PM, 18 Sep, 2021
vote respect
File photos.

After PML’s N ‘respect the vote’ campaign to ward off manipulations in future, it is heading towards another similar initiative – ‘respect the party president’. 

Although respecting the party chief is supposed to be a routine affair, in PML-N it’s an important news because of the situation the party has been passing through since long.

The party “Quaid” Mian Nawaz Sharif and party president Shehbaz Sharif are advocating two conflicting narratives – a development that has divided the three-decades-old party into two camps. 

On the face of it the party looks united under the leadership of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, but on ground the followers of ex-chief minister Shehbaz Sharif are a different entity. 

Since the party’s vote bank is because of Nawaz Sharif, his group appears to be stronger and the real face of the entity. 

Shehbaz Sharif doesn’t get as much respect and importance as he is entitled to. 

His real worth can be assessed from the remarks MNAS Javed Lateef made recently. 

Javed Latif, an MNA from Sheikhupra who had got closer to vice-president Maryam Nawaz after being jailed because of his reckless utterances, had recently told a private news channel that four to five leaders in the PML-N are on an ‘assignment’ to distort the party’s narrative [respect the vote]. 

In an implied reference to Shehbaz Sharif, who advocates the narrative of reconciliation with the establishment, the MNA had said “those who are on an assignment talk about reconciliation. I don’t want to name them but when seasoned leaders harm the party’s narrative, this is not possible without an assignment [from the establishment].” 

 “Whenever a campaign against the government reaches a decisive phase, someone (of those on assignment) tries to defuse it. These are people who are talking about reconciliation”.

He alleged that these leaders take assignments from those who don’t believe in law and the constitution. “They should recall the fate of Chaudhry Nisar,” the MNA from Chakri who is no longer with the party although he was once very close both to Nawaz and Shehbaz. 

Javed Lateef’s remarks annoyed Shehbaz Sharif and he sought necessary action against the legislator from Sheikhupura. 

But to the astonishment of everyone, Nawaz Sharif opposed the demand. 

To express his resentment against the Quaid’s reluctance Shhehbaz did not turn up at a couple of party’s divisional level meetings.  

Now, on Shehbaz’s insistence Javed Latif has been issued a show-cause notice on the direction of Mian Nawaz Sharif for criticising the PML-N president.  

The notice has been issued by PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, a Nawaz-Maryam loyalist.  

“It has come to the notice of the party Quaid that you (Javed Latif) appeared on a talk show on Sept 14 in which you made certain comments and allegations that were baseless and violative of the party discipline.  

It further says: “Whereas PML-N has the tradition of allowing maximum space to its members to express their opinions within the party in the spirit of true democracy, at the same time the tone and tenor in public discourse no matter whosoever it comes from, which includes discussions in TV talk shows, that violates the very ethics and discipline of the party is intolerable. I am directed by Nawaz Sharif to issue this show-cause notice to you [Latif] and you are called upon to show cause as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. Respond to this notice within seven days.” 

Mr Latif now has two options – either to seek unconditional apology from Shehbaz Sharif or resign as party MNA. 

This is not an isolated episode, as earlier this month Shehbaz Sharif had to cut a sorry figure after the party issued a clarification on his statement regarding his idea of a ‘national government’ terming it his personal opinion. 

It was none else but Maryam Nawaz who had said that Shehbaz Sharif had proposed national reconciliation, not national government.  

She also gave justification for the national reconciliation.   

However, Shehbaz Sharif’s spokesman Malik Ahmed had to intervene to clarify the position. He made it clear that the PML-N president had called for national government. 

To give the PML-N president respect he deserves and to meet the ends of justice, Maryam Nawaz should also be proceeded against in the light of party Constitution. 

Likewise, there is also the need for action against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had said recently that the PML-N had lost the 2018 elections because of the strategy pursued by Shehbaz Sharif.   

According to him the party would have won the elections and come to power once again if proper strategy had been followed. 

The PML-N’s move to give the president respect is certainly a good move. However, to achieve this target many more would have to be proceeded against.

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.