ISLAMABAD: Despite the reservations of a few senior party members, the Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday elected Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar as acting president of the party.
PML-N Chairman Senator Raja Zafarul Haq proposed the name of Nasar at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee of the party at Punjab House in Islamabad.
The committee also decided that the name of the ‘permanent’ party chief will be decided on September 7.
The position fell vacant after the apex court disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from his assembly seat. The terms of disqualification also make him ineligible to be a party chief and the Election Commission of Pakistan, in turn, directed the PML-N to elect a new head.
Senator Nasar’s name was already in news on Wednesday after Sharif gave his approval.
Sources said that former interior minister Chaudhary Nisar, who is known for taking blunt and unapologetic stances in party matters, expressed reservations over the leaking of Nasar’s name ahead of the formal announcement. “Why was the meeting summoned in Islamabad if the decision had already been taken in Lahore,” the source quoted Nisar as saying.
Another source confirmed that Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique agreed with Nisar. “He also disapproved of the way the process was carried out,” another federal minister told The Express Tribune.
The committee also unanimously approved a resolution naming Sharif as the party’s ‘quaid’ (founding father) and also paid tributes to his services for the party.
On August 8, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had issued a notice to the PML-N for the appointment of a new party leader, citing Nawaz Sharif’s de-seating and disqualification by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case.
Nasar, who is from Balochistan, is a close aide to the former prime minister and his appointment has been carried out as a stopgap arrangement. Sources said the Punjab chief minister is poised to become the permanent party president after Eidul Azha.