Pirzada sticks to his guns for leadership change

But IPC minister denies presence of any forward bloc within the party

Danish Hussain October 23, 2017
Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Rebuffing criticism of his statement about leadership change in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Monday repeated his suggestion that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif should ‘take over’ reins of the party.

In an informal talk with the media after a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on the IPC, Pirzada denied the presence of any forward bloc within the party, but warned that it would not take a forward bloc to be formed to harm the party.

“I have faced criticism over the statement. It was totally unwarranted,” Pirzada said as he reiterated his earlier statement that Shehbaz could keep the party united ahead of the next general elections due in 2018.

Referring to the ctiticism over the use of word ‘takeover’, Pirzada said that his suggestion was quite straightforward and there was no conspiracy. He added that he was worried how the party would go into the general elections.

Cabinet minister urges Nawaz to hand over PML-N reins to Shehbaz

Pirzada admitted he was not very much articulate about giving statements. “They [some PML-N leaders] think that when I say Shehbaz should take over party, it means a revolt against Nawaz Sharif. This is not the case,” he said.

“One cannot deny my experience in the field of politics. I have a pragmatic approach. It’s a wise suggestion that Shehbaz should lead the party now. This is the right decision. Time demands it of the PML-N,” he added.

Criticising Maryam Nawaz’s statement that there would be 'accountability of the accountability process', he said because of such reaction to the ongoing accountability process from Sharif and his associates, the PML-N did not need any forward bloc to harm its unity.

Pirzada said he had told Shehbaz that it was time the party kept its unity intact because the general elections were round the corner. “It’s you [Shehbaz], and no-one else, who can keep the party united at this testing time,” Pirzada said about what he had told Shehbaz.

He said he also advised Shehbaz that Sharif should face the courts like Asif Zardari did in past – a reference to the accountability cases lodged against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in the 1990s.

Responding to another question, Pirzada said the PML-N leaders’ handing of the issue of cases against Sharif was wrong. He was of the view that there was much ado in the PML-N about the accountability process.


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