Intra-party friction: With Rana’s departure, rumours of Shahbaz-Nawaz rift resurface

Published: June 9, 2012

Nawaz had asked the Punjab govt to wait for his return before deciding minister’s fate. PHOTO: INP/FILE

LAHORE: With the elections closing in, not all is well in camp Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), if some insiders are to be believed.

The forced resignation of Punjab Finance Minister Rana Asif is being viewed by party insiders as one more manifestation of brewing differences between Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif.

Said to have been inducted in the Cabinet on the instructions of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Rana has been shown the door, as rumour has it, by the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Ostensibly vying with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the vote bank of extreme religious right (ERR), which is said to be sizeable in Punjab, the PML-N faction led by Shahbaz is believed to have felt obliged to fire Rana, a minority member, in hope that this gesture on the part of the party would tip the balance in its favor vis-à-vis the ERR.

The sources said that PML-N is clearly divided into two groups: one led by MNA Khawaja Muhammad Asif who gets his inspiration from Nawaz while the other is led by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who is said to get his instructions from Shahbaz.

The events that led to the finance minister’s eventual forced resignation began unfolding with rumours that Asif is a Muslim by birth and is pretending to be a Christian simply to bag a minority MPA seat. He is also said to have dual nationality.

According to sources, Nawaz Sharif took notice of Asif’s predicament and asked Advocate General (AG) Ashter Ausaf to help him resolve the dual national problem, so any controversy could be avoided. Asif along with the AG visited the Canadian Embassy on June 5 to get his certificate of renunciation – but they were informed that the process will take some time.

On June 5, the AG, in a report to the high-ups of the party, said that Asif’s case could easily be put on hold till expiry of the current tenure of Punjab Assembly. But Shahbaz ignored the report and called a meeting of the AG, Secretary Coordination Dr Touqeer Shah and Rana Sanaullah. When their meeting ended, they informed Asif that the party may face trouble if he remains a minister and that the chief minister could not afford such a situation, with elections around the corner.

Asif, whose appointment was recommended by Khawaja Asif, approached the MNA and both conveyed the situation to Nawaz, who was in Dubai.

According to sources, Nawaz asked the Punjab government to wait till his return before any decision is taken on the matter.

However, a night before Nawaz arrived, Shahbaz got Asif to resign and even asked him to leave the city for the time being.

Nawaz returned on Friday morning – only to be told that Asif had resigned the night before.

Rana Asif

Asif, while talking with The Express Tribune, said that it was unfortunate that some elements from his party had hatched a conspiracy against him and put his life at stake. Saying he feared assassination, he added that he had been portrayed as an infidel which is regrettable for the whole community.

Rana Sanaullah

Sanaullah said that Asif’s portfolio has been withdrawn as he possesses dual nationality. He said that the Supreme Court is going to hear a case on the matter on June 13 while the Punjab government will present its budget on June 9 – and if the apex court gives an order against Asif, the Punjab government would definitely face embarrassment.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • zia
    Jun 9, 2012 - 10:07AM

    PML (S) is on the cards!!! :)

    Recommend

  • usman
    Jun 9, 2012 - 10:38AM

    ERR. I wonder if I am that kind of person, supporting PTI.

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  • adnan
    Jun 9, 2012 - 11:06AM

    pml(n) will definitely break into more groups after the announcement of interm govt in punjab & centre. Most of the party members r opportunists & does not even understand what is idealogy.

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  • Pakistani
    Jun 9, 2012 - 11:41AM

    The point to be noted is ” rumours

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  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 9, 2012 - 11:55AM

    ERR? Are you kidding me? This has to be one of the worst articles that I have read.

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  • Jun 9, 2012 - 12:28PM

    Look at the name of this party, PML-N. And N is for nawaz. Parties dont rely on one person. It can b an organistaion or company, but not a party.
    Members of pmln should b ashamed of themselves. Feeling so pity on them.Recommend

  • mesed
    Jun 9, 2012 - 12:33PM

    ERR? seriously

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  • ReHaN
    Jun 9, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Shahbaz is better than Nawaz in internal affairs of party. Nawaz could be made Oversease President of party as he spends most of time by living outside Pak:(

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  • Falcon
    Jun 9, 2012 - 12:40PM

    Stand-off between the groups led by Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif was pending for a long time. Fear exposes the worst vulnerabilities of people and so is happening to PMLN.

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  • Tch tch
    Jun 9, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Ostensibly vying with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the vote bank of extreme religious right (ERR), which is said to be sizeable in Punjab, the PML-N faction led by Shahbaz is believed to have felt obliged to fire Rana, a minority member, in hope that this gesture on the part of the party would tip the balance in its favor vis-à-vis the ERR.
    LOl what kinda reporting is this ERR Seriously. And Ran Sahb isnt even Christian (per Nadra). His dual nationality was the real problem as mentioned in the end. Recommend

  • Moulvi Nawaz Shareef
    Jun 9, 2012 - 1:31PM

    Well Shahbaz is leading the right wing within PML-N and Nawaz Shareef (Previously a Taliban Lover) is leading the Liberals who are in extreme minority in PML-N….and one point….PML-N has no Liberal vote bank….so N without S is a definite zero……

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  • abs
    Jun 9, 2012 - 2:27PM

    ERR would do harm not only to religon itself but politics. They are worth sending to Afghanistan wokring alongside taliban led govt.

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  • Uzair
    Jun 9, 2012 - 2:45PM

    I read a true analysis somewhere. It stated that Nawaz and Shahbaz fake this so called rift with NS usually being the bad cop and SS being the good cop. In case of opposing views, people will think that either NS or SS(eventually PML(N)) is on the right side, hence a win win situation.

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  • Lahori
    Jun 9, 2012 - 2:50PM

    Recommend is you think PML(S) would be better and more succesful than PML(N)

    Recommend

  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Jun 9, 2012 - 3:03PM

    It is not true.Both of them respect each other immensely.Could be disinformation.

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  • Expatriate
    Jun 9, 2012 - 3:36PM

    Of the two,Shahbaz is difinitly better and has spark which if channelized properly can be very productive,provided he acquires the services of sincere advisors.Nawaz is a spent force and will do well by handing over the reign of the party to Shabaz.Nawaz should commute between London Dubai and Pakistan to make his business empire multinational.

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  • Saud
    Jun 9, 2012 - 3:40PM

    Wishful thinking and reporting.

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  • Fazal
    Jun 9, 2012 - 6:06PM

    No one can doubt Mr. Shahbaz intention. He is far better than other PML-N leadership including Nawaz Sharif. He is a man who has pain for the public and working day and night for the betterment of the people. But unfortunately his elder brother has spoiled the image of PML-N and now people have decided to vote PTI this time. No party has an individual like Shahbaz Shareef, even PTI does not. It will be better for Shahbaz Sharif to take control of PML-N and send his brother to Dubai or London. He should start talks with PTI. PML-N led by Shahbaz and PTI led by Imran can do wonder for our country. I know it is looking almost impossible but i can wish, it is my right.

    Recommend

  • Moulvi Nawaz Shareef
    Jun 9, 2012 - 7:10PM

    @ Fazal…..I second your thought….IK may be wiling to sit with SS….but NS is a big liar and master of “U Turns”, no body in this country trusts him anymore.

    Recommend

  • Nasir Shah
    Jun 9, 2012 - 7:35PM

    Noora Kushti within. This is not a party but a group of opportunist. Sooner than later it has to split in many A, B, Cs. Only self interest work in this party.

    Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jun 9, 2012 - 9:41PM

    @Fazal:
    For God’s sake, do you actually believe what you typed here? Not sure if to take it as a sarcastic comment or what?

    Recommend

  • zia
    Jun 9, 2012 - 11:43PM

    @Fazal:
    Shahbaz is better than Mr Noora, no doubt about that…. But…. He still has the serious allegations like Money laundering and pleading americans to safe Noora government from the military coup of 1999… :O

    Recommend

  • Ordinary Villager
    Jun 10, 2012 - 1:12AM

    @Jibran: I recently visited many cities of Punjab and Shahbaz Sharif is extremely popular and Mr Fazal is absolutely right. There are many rumors that PMLN might divide in future as Nawaz is unhappy with Shahbaz on many issues but PML group led by Shahbaz Sharif can definitely change the outlook of Politics as team of Shahbaz Sharif is much more competitive than Nawaz Sharif.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 10, 2012 - 4:26AM

    PTI now has a mouthpiece, and no surprises it`s Express Tribune.

    Recommend

  • Akbar Khan
    Jun 10, 2012 - 5:21AM

    Fate of this party is written after non-performance during last four years. It can’t survive with the inefficient approach for long. Time will tell but the party has lost public support. It can’t gather enough people nor can show street power. It was once effective against Musharaf but after shaking hand with PPP it has lost credibility.

    Recommend

  • Loyalist
    Jun 10, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Yellow Journalism at it’s Best.

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