PML-N ‘anxious’ to hush up ‘deal’ controversy

Things might not go farther than suspension of Mashhood’s party membership


Sardar Sikander October 05, 2018
Rana Mashhood. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) may have suspended the membership of a senior leader after he hinted about a possible deal with the security establishment, but new reports emerged, suggesting that some top PML-N leaders want to hush up the issue.

On Wednesday, PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif had set up a three-member committee under PML-N’s chairman Raja Zafarul Haq to probe into the matter. Other members of the committee included former speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq and former federal minister Rana Tanvir.

'Deal' talk shows fissures in PML-N

Rana Mashhood, who is a former provincial minister, had made the controversial remarks during an interview to a private news channel on Tuesday.

The committee was given two weeks to submit its report to the PML-N president, enabling him to take appropriate action against Mashhood. The committee did not hold any meeting till the filing of this report on Thursday night.

A PML-N insider, with close ties with one of the committee members, had doubts about the committee’s probe. “I wonder if anything will happen as a consequence of this report,” he said.

“Two weeks is time enough for dust surrounding this controversy to settle. Other developments will occur, stealing the spotlight and the controversy over Mashhood’s remarks will be relegated to the background. People will forget (about) it,” he said.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is learnt to favour launching a thorough inquiry in this regard.

“These remarks have damaged Mian sahib’s political narrative. Questions are being asked about his (Nawaz’s) politics and his silence after he returned from Adiala Jail is being linked with the presumed deal. Mian sahib is very unhappy,” said a former federal minister of the PML-N.

PMN-N leader stirs ‘deal’ controversy

The former minister said that Nawaz had pressed Shehbaz to serve a show-cause notice on Mashhood and suspend his party membership. He also called for launching an inquiry in this regard.

However, Shehbaz is said to favour ‘sweeping the matter under the rug’.

“Three days are enough for this sort of inquiry. Allowing 14 days is giving too much time. It clearly demonstrates that Shehbaz is not serious in pursuing this inquiry,” the politician said.

“Shehbaz and leaders close to him favour building this impression that PML-N is still relevant and in touch with power centers. On the other hand, Nawaz wants to stay away from the establishment … His entire political narrative is anti-establishment,” he insisted. “This statement is too big for someone with Mashood’s stature … Any statement involving the security establishment is not possible without taking the party chief into confidence beforehand.”

However, PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah, regarded as a close aide of Shehbaz, denied reports suggesting that the PML-N chief wanted to hush up the matter.

“This inquiry has not even started and the media is jumping to conclusions,” he said.

“You must wait for the inquiry to finish. If the situation was still clouded, only then such questions should be asked. Presumptions and guessing games must be avoided,” he said.

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