LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has yet to find a replacement for Iqbal Zafar Jhagra for the office of the central secretary general.
The office is lying vacant since Jhagra’s appointment as governor of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in March.
Senior PML-N leaders say there are several aspirants for the office but the party has yet to start the process to appoint a new secretary general. They say the party’s response to the Panama Papers controversy would have been more effective had a permanent secretary general led the effort.
A PML-N senator said that the secretary general’s office was extremely important for the party because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the party’s president, was not expected to take out time for party affairs owing to his official duties. He said the secretary general was responsible for several important tasks including convening of party meetings.
A PML-N MNA said the secretary general’s presence would have been beneficial for the party in view of the ongoing campaign against the Sharif family over the Panama Papers controversy. “Some ministers have defended the party but it would have been more appropriate if this had been done by the secretary general,” he said.
He said the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were both working on improving party organisations. The PPP had recently started an effort to re-organise the party across the country. The PTI was set to hold its intra-party election but postponed it in view of the Panama Paper controversy.
Another senior party leader said that Jhagra and four other former secretary generals of the party had belonged to the KPK. He said most aspirants for the office were from the Punjab and the KPK. “It’s likely that the office will again be handed to a party member from the KPK,” he said.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, PML-N Chairman Senator Raja Zafarul Haq said that the matter would be taken up with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as soon as he returned to the country. Meanwhile, he said, the party’s affairs were being taken care of in accordance with its constitution. He said that Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, the deputy secretary general, was looking after the party’s affairs in the absence of a permanent secretary general.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2016.