Tug of war: PML-N’s K-P chapter mired in factionalism

Sharif travelled to Kohat on Oct 28 after two provincial stalwarts buried the hatchet, according to insiders


Umer Farooq November 08, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is struggling to stop infighting and factionalism in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the party in order to regain the lost political ground in the province before the next general elections.

The lingering tiff between PML-N central senior vice president Engineer Amir Muqam and provincial president Pir Sabir Shah had been an open secret. However, it was only after the two N-League stalwarts had buried the hatchet – at least for now – that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif consented to travel to Kohat on Oct 28 to address a public rally.

Insiders say Sharif was unhappy with the Muqam-Shah differences and planned on sending Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal or any other central leader of the PML-N to address the rally. “He [Sharif] was well aware of the Muqam-Shah tiff and this was the reason he was reluctant to travel to K-P for political gatherings,” one insider told The Express Tribune.



“He {Sharif] wanted the provincial leadership of the party to bury their differences and unite,” the insider added. “Sharif consented to travel to Kohat for the Oct 28 rally only after Muqam and Shah hugged each other in his presence.”

He disclosed that Muqam was likely to become the next provincial president of PML-N, while Shah would be offered the slot of central general secretary – a position lying vacant since Iqbal Zafar Jaghra’s becoming governor of K-P.

Muqam sought to downplay his differences with Shah. “I don’t have any misunderstanding with anyone and perhaps others have also realised [that], but we all perform our duties under the leadership of Prime Minister Sharif,” Muqam told The Express Tribune.

Shah was not available to comment on the matter.

Apart from Muqam-Shah rivalry, groupings at the regional level are also posing a serious threat to the party’s future in K-P.

Muslim Student Federation (MSF) provincial president Syed Haidar Shah Bacha has offered help to resolve differences among the party leadership. However, he too agreed the task was too daunting to accomplish unless Sharif himself intervened.

“Yes, I think only the prime minister can help sort out these issues – and I’d say he must intervene to save the party in K-P,” Bacha told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2016.

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