Back at PML-N helm, Shehbaz likely to adopt conciliatory tone

PML-N would not be able to tow the same aggressive policy, once its President Shehbaz Sharif resumes his command


Rameez Khan April 14, 2021
PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE:

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would not be able to tow the same aggressive policy it had adopted under Maryam Nawaz once its President Shehbaz Sharif resumes his command of the party, a party source said on Wednesday.

The source said that PML-N president has never been in favour of politics of confrontation, but even otherwise, the party has not gained any advantage from its aggressive posturing seen during the past few months from the platform of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Also read: Shehbaz Sharif gets bail relief from court

Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N Vice President, led the party as Shehbaz was in jail over the corruption references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Shehbaz got bail from the court on Wednesday.

So far, all the opposition’s attempts to overthrow the government by building pressure through rallies and processions under the PDM have failed, creating a somewhat embarrassing situation for the PML-N and other parties in the alliance.

“Even as of now, despite the departure of ANP [Awami National Party] and the PPP [Pakistan Peoples Party] from the PDM, the PML-N still wanted to launch a fresh round of protests against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after Eid,” the source said. “This plan is likely to hit snags, he added.

According to the source, Shehbaz Sharif would not change the party position all of sudden because any abrupt changes might trigger speculation regarding “camps” within house of Sharif. “Instead, the party might go for a gradual shift in its stance.”

He said that the PML-N under Shehbaz would gradually shift its focus away from dislodging the government to a conventional opposition party’s role – criticising the government and giving it tough time in and outside parliament.

Under Shehbaz’s lead, the source continued, the party “will not focus on dislodging this government at least for now” because of the rise in corona virus cases and the fast approaching harsh summer weather. “With the change in the party strategy, Maryam Nawaz will also limit her role,” he added.

According to the source, Shehbaz Sharif would take the all the party cadres onbroad regarding his strategy, even the party hawks who had long wanted party to adopt confrontational approach.

A party leader, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Shehbaz would take the control of the party in his own hands, adding that he would also try to convince the party Quaid Nawaz Sharif to allow him to adopt a conciliatory tone.

The party leader opined that Shehbaz would devise a different strategy to take on the government after getting a green signal from Nawaz. “In that case there will be no more talk of establishment,” She added. “In any case, Shehbaz Sharif would not follow an aggressive policy line.”

Another senior party leader, also speaking on condition of anonymity, rejected the impression that Shehbaz Sharif was not on broad the entire time he was in jail. “Shehbaz Sharif is after all the party president and his permission was always sought before any decision,” he said.

“It will be premature to say now what policy line Shehbaz will follow but the fact remains that the PML-N will continue its struggle against the PTI government,” said the senior PML-N leader and a confidant of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Asked if the party had abandoned its plan of trying to overthrow the government, he said that whenever a situation arises where the party felt that government is most vulnerable, “it will seize the opportunity.”

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