PML-N top slot in question as internal polls inch closer

One section believes Maryam should lead party as Shehbaz is already PM

Hasnaat Malik December 17, 2022


As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has given a deadline to the PML-N for holding intra-party elections till December 31, a debate has triggered within it about whether or not those who were currently occupying government positions should be given party offices.

It has been learnt that one section within the PML-N wanted its supremo Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, to be given the office of the party president as his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, was the prime minister.

Currently, PM Shehbaz is the head of the PML-N after Nawaz’s disqualification as the party chief by a three-judge bench of the apex court led by ex-chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar in 2017.

A senior PML-N leader admitted that there were serious considerations within them that the members holding government offices should be disassociated from the party portfolios.

Read more: Sharifs only focused on their own well-being: CM Elahi

However, he added that no schedule was being announced in connection with the holding of intra-party elections in the near future.

There are also reports that the PML-N's intra-party elections will be held on December 30.

Hamza Shehbaz is the political heir of the prime minister being his son.

He has a stronghold within the party in Punjab.

Over 2,000 general council members elect the central office-bearers of the party, including its president and general secretary.

Political analysts said if Maryam was nominated as the PML-N chief, there might be strong resistance by one section within the party.

Read more: Elahi censures PML-N for ‘stopping’ public projects

Currently, the PML-N has maintained a good relationship with the security establishment.

It will be interesting to note whether or not the nomination of somebody other than PM Shehbaz for the position of the PML-N chief would impact the party’s ties with the establishment.

Party leaders have asked Nawaz to lead the upcoming general elections campaign.

One section within the party believed that the status quo should be maintained until Nawaz returned to the country.

However, the former premier is facing legal challenges.

He was disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution in the Panamagate case.

Subsequently, he was convicted in two corruption references by accountability courts.

Nawaz’s lifetime disqualification can be ended by the apex court.

His appeals are pending in the Islamabad High Court against his convictions.

After Maryam's acquittal, Nawaz would also be exonerated in the Avenfield flats case.

Even the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case can be remanded for a retrial in view of former judge Arshad Malik's statement.

Nawaz's arrival in Pakistan will have an impact on the PML-N's popularity in Punjab. It is a fact that after the change of regime, his popularity has slightly decreased as well.

Despite all these facts, his rivals admit that Nawaz has a  significant vote bank in Punjab and he is a very good campaigner.

They concede that his return to the country will increase the momentum of PML-N activists in the next general elections.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Nawaz will pass on the party leadership to his daughter before the upcoming general polls.

During a recent hearing, the ECP was informed that the PML-N’s intra-party elections would be held on December 30.

The commission had adjourned the hearing until January 5.


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