Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has stopped the Punjab government from escalating tensions with the federal government over the implication of provincial government officials in different FIRs.
Talking to The Express Tribune, sources privy to the development said Nawaz urged hawkish elements of the party to refrain from showing a reaction to any move by the federal government in this regard. They said he directed the Punjab government to stop retaliating by implicating federal government employees in FIRs. Meanwhile, Nawaz has asked opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to use the federal government’s attempts to implicate Punjab government employees to gain political mileage for the PML-N.
In the past few months, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) implicated one high official of the Punjab government in a case while separately the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) summoned another top bureaucrat from the province. Both officials were again summoned on Thursday. A third contentious situation between Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and PML-N emerged when Nawaz’s accountant was harassed by FIA.
According to sources, Nisar called a meeting of senior party leaders and parliamentarians at the Punjab House in Islamabad on Thursday, asking them to accompany one of the officials before the FIA. The majority, however, were not very keen on doing this, according to sources and said that the lawmakers’ distrust was conveyed to the party leadership.
Nawaz immediately dispatched Senator Ishaq Dar to meet Nisar. On the party chief’s directions, PML-N lawyers were asked not to accompany one Punjab govt official when he was to face the FIA.
Sources close to Nawaz said that he was not on board the Punjab government’s attempt to retaliate against the federal government or Nisar’s insistence that the party’s senior leadership accompany implicated Punjab govt officials.
PML-N MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry confirmed the development and the meeting Nisar called. He did not confirm the lawmakers’ reluctance to accompany Shah, claiming they left the meeting on Dar’s direction. Along with Chaudhry, MNAs Shakil Awan, Malik Abrar, Nasser Bhutta and Senator Rafique Rajwana were ready to accompany the bureaucrat.
Sources said Nawaz forbade the Punjab government from initiating a case against PPP officials and, in fact, asked them to quash a case against PPP MPA Shaukat Mehmood Basra. According to them, the PML-N discovered that the PPP intends to escalate its tussle with the Punjab government, a game which Nawaz does not want to play with the general elections coming up.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2012.
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