ISLAMABAD: Faced with rising resentment within its ranks, the PML-N leadership has decided, for the time being, to shelve its plan to convene parliamentary party meetings regularly.
The parliamentary party met twice during the last as many months – on July 27 and August 4 – however on both occasions the top leadership faced a ‘hostile’ environment. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his capacity as the PML-N president, presided over the two meet-ups.
However, keeping in view the unexpected situation involving intense exchange of arguments between the prime minister and PML-N’s MNA from Toba Tek Singh Chaudhry Asadur Rehman during the last meeting, Sharif does not seem inclined to continue with the practice of convening this meeting as a regular feature, The Express Tribune has learnt on credible authority.
Also, the party has decided not to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the lawmaker, realising the gravity of the situation, insiders said. The development, the sources described, rang alarm bells within the top party ranks.
“Resentment is like an undeclared revolt,” a PML-N leader remarked, requesting not to be named.
“If, in the presence of so many people, a lawmaker, who does not hold a high position in the party hierarchy, attempts to take on Mian Sahib, there would be many others who could be encouraged to follow the course in future. This is probably why the party command does not want parliamentary party meetings anymore, not for the time being, at least,” the source said.
The insiders said the PML-N leadership has decided to increase interaction with its lawmakers from all regions soon after the prime minister landed back home from London in July after an open heart surgery.
The decision followed a few rounds of consultations between the premier and his close confidantes in Lahore and Islamabad. In this context, it was decided to make parliamentary party meeting a regular feature to be held on a monthly basis.
This, the sources said, had more to do with the reports suggesting growing unease among the PML-N’s lawmakers, especially in Punjab, regarding party policies on a number of issues.
The grievances are also linked to the party leadership’s non-consultative approach towards party leaders. With the exception of a handful of ministers, advisers and other cabinet members, ‘ordinary’ PML-N legislators are mostly kept out of the loop regarding key political decisions.
Speaking to The Express Tribune a few days back, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah dispelled the impression of a looming internal revolt within PML-N. “It may be a wishful thinking on the part of some individuals but this is far from reality,” he said. The minister, however, implied to admit that all was not well.
“There may be some issues in the party. Every party has issues. In politics, these are petty things that surface on a daily basis and are taken care of, accordingly. If you talk about rifts and revolt, please do not mistake the PML-N with the PTI.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2016.