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Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif talks to Asad Junejo at Jati Umra in Raiwind on Thursday. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and former information minister Pervaiz Rashid are also present.—Online
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif talks to Asad Junejo at Jati Umra in Raiwind on Thursday. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and former information minister Pervaiz Rashid are also present.—Online

LAHORE/ HYDER­ABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday met Asad Junejo, the son of former prime minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, at his Jati Umra residence in Raiwind where he welcomed the politician from Sindh who has announced his decision to join the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Party sources told Dawn that it was Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair who had persuaded Mr Junejo to join the PML-N. They said that Mr Zubair had been given the task of wooing politicians from Sindh, as Mr Sharif wanted some ‘big names’ to join the PML-N before the 2018 elections.

Mr Sharif promised to visit Sindh soon and said that the people of Sindh had always shown him much respect and love. “It is the land of sufi saints and qalandars,” he said, stressing that Sindh, like the rest of the provinces, was dear to him.

Welcoming Mr Junejo to the PML-N, the former prime minister paid tribute to the late Mohammad Khan Junejo and said that the PML-N would perform well in elections in Sindh next year.

Ex-PM Mohammad Khan Junejo’s son joins PML-N

Mr Junejo said Pakistan’s stability was in tandem with the stability of the PML-N. “The people of the country, especially [in] Sindh, are looking up to Nawaz Sharif for the solution to their problems,” he said.

Mr Zubair, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Raiways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq were also present at the meeting.

Mr Junejo is considered to be a recluse compared to other politicians. He was the central vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and remained the president of the party’s Sindh chapter since Decem­ber 2015, after Haleem Adil Sheikh quit the PML-Q in September 2015 and joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Mr Junejo has a background in agriculture, in particular, managing mango orchards in the Sindhri area of Mirpurkhas known for the popular ‘sindhri’ variety of mangoes.

He was part of the federal cabinet led by Mr Sharif in 1993 and then following the 1997 elections. He was also a chief organiser of the PML-Junejo then headed by Hamid Nasir Chattha. Mr Junejo was one of the founding members of the PML-Q created in 2001.

His sister Dr Kaneez Sughra Junejo became the district nazim of Mirpurkhas with the support of the late Pir Pagarao’s PML-Functional.

“Yes, I confirm I met Nawaz Sharif today at his residence,” he told Dawn over the phone. He said he had joined the PML-N as he believed that being a true ‘Muslim leaguer’, he could work for the Muslim League in a more effective way if he joined the larger section.

“I found my father’s friends with Mian sahib and I am very comfortable with the decision,” he said.

He said that while he had been in the PML-Q, he would press for the unification of the PML. “It is my wish that there should be one PML as it once used to be.”

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2017