The PML-N on Tuesday re-elected former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as the party's president after bulldozing a law through parliament that did away with the condition that persons otherwise disqualified to hold public office would not be allowed to lead a political party.

Although PML-N leaders hailed the decision — Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called it a 'historic day' — analysts and political opponents feel that the democratic norms have been compromised for Nawaz's personal gains.

Zahid Hussain — senior journalist

"Nawaz Sharif is comparing himself to all those who have been ousted forcefully [in the past]; but today's situation is very different from what has happened before."

"His disqualification and cases [in the accountability court] are a reality and I think it would been better had he got himself cleared and then re-elected."

Nawaz talking about the empowerment of parliament and strengthening democracy do not appeal to other parties since he is making these statements after his disqualification, Hussain said.

"When Nawaz was in power for four years, he could have empowered democracy and parliament and that would have sent a stronger message," he admonished.

"When in crisis, you [Nawaz] suddenly remember political parties and the parliament, but are otherwise responsible for weakening parliament in your own rule."

Nusrat Javed — senior journalist, anchorperson

Nawaz Sharif's party would have been divided had Nawaz not been elected as its president.

"There is a generational change [in the party], with people talking about Shahbaz and Maryam and some even looking at Nisar.

"The biggest issue at hand for Nawaz was to ensure that none of his people are breaking away and he has successfully made sure that no one does."

Sheikh Rasheed — Awami Muslim League chief

"He has become a non-political, unconstitutional, non-parliamentary and immoral president through rigging and force."

Rasul Bakhsh Rais — political analyst, academic

Rasul Bakhsh Raees feels the decision puts the party on the path to a clash with institutions. "I think that PML-N's leadership is going on the path of conflict with the courts," he observed.

"In any democratic country, if anyone is convicted, he cannot become a political party's leader," Raees said, terming the situation "saddening".

"The whole party is electing a person who has been disqualified. Therefore, we do not see any individual thinking in the party."

But, he feels "the visible cracks have been hidden for now, which may change if accountability courts find him guilty."

Naeemul Haque — PTI leader

"Nawaz Sharif thinks of himself as Pakistan's king and his ministers are no more than his courtiers."

"He does not accept Pakistan's army and the courts and people's faith in them [PML-N] has completely ended, which is why our party has demanded fresh elections."

Talat Hussain — journalist, anchorperson

"I see a continuity of the narrative that he [Nawaz] took on the GT road and to London. It has primarily been aimed at his voter's consumption."

"Secondly, you see the cold war with the establishment increasing. Nawaz thinks that increasing the cold war will cause no real harm."

"The party has made Nawaz Sharif very strong."

Sherry Rehman — PPP leader

"On what basis would PPP have supported him?" Sherry Rehman asked, responding to Nawaz's claim that PPP did not support him when it should have. "How can he compare himself to Shaheed [Benazir] Bhutto?"

"When he was asked to amend Articles 62, 63 on a principled basis he did not do it, but now when he is in trouble, he comes to us."

The PML-N appears to be "ready to change everything for a person's benefit," Rehman believes.

"Cracks in the party are very visible as Nisar was seen nowhere, nor did he speak; and Shahbaz said that if he [Nawaz] would've listened to us he wouldn't have had to see this day."



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