The war drums have been banged for months, but now the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is ready for full-on political conflict.
The party’s leader, Nawaz Sharif, on Monday gave the go-ahead to Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to contact other parties in the National Assembly, in the hope of instigating a fresh “no-confidence” movement against the government. A party strategy on the Memogate issue was also devised, along with plans for forthcoming party gatherings in the country.
Sources said that Nawaz has asked Nisar to start negotiations with Awami National Party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and members from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to support the PML-N with their “no-confidence” movement. If they express an interest in coming on board, Nawaz will meet them personally.
The PML-N has also decided to approach members of the PML-Q, and even disgruntled members of other political parties, luring them with the prospect of party tickets at the next elections.
The high-level party meeting was held in Raiwind. Attendees included Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Senator Ishaq Dar, Mehtab Abbasi, Shahid Khakan Abbasi, Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa, Senator Pervez Rashid, MNA Rana Tanveer Hussain, Ahsan Iqbal and Raja Ashfaq Sarwar.
According to inside sources, in addition to Nawaz’s schemes, his proposed three-day visit to Karachi and list of entrants to the PML-N were both finalised. Sharif will visit Karachi on December 18, meeting prominent figures in Sindhi politics. These include the Mehar family, the Chandio family, Arbab Rahim , Saleem Jan Mazari and Shaukat Shah.
Nawaz will also visit Chishtia Bahawalnagar on December 22, Azad Kashmir on December 26 and Gujranwala on December 31, as he looks to gather momentum to launch a genuinely competitive movement against the Pakistan Peoples Party.
Among the serious political offensives, there will also be a day of festivity for the PML-N this winter, as the party will celebrate its birthday on December 30, when Nawaz is expected to be in Lahore to address a public gathering.
On Memogate, the PML-N is expected to decide its policy based on written reply of President Asif Zardari in court. However, the PML-N will continue to publicise the issue as much as possible, in order to inform the public about the repercussions of allowing ?undemocratic? forces to prosper.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.
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