NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq tells reporters he has convened a meeting on Monday in Islamabad to address the reservations of some parties on the issue of delimitation.
NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq tells reporters he has convened a meeting on Monday in Islamabad to address the reservations of some parties on the issue of delimitation.

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif held consultations with senior party leadership here on Saturday and assured them that he would frame a policy to iron out all internal differences within the party cadre.

Although Mr Sharif and his younger brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have time and again rejected reports of internal rifts, the PML-N has been marred by a tug of war between the next generations of the Sharifs, Maryam and Hamza, a disgruntled former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, unwelcoming remarks of federal minister Riaz Pirzada who questioned the election of Mr Sharif as party president and so many similar issues.

Mr Sharif, who arrived here from Islamabad the day before, consulted various PML-N leaders to discuss the future line of action in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case, the subsequent accountability process and the party’s internal issues.

Decision to launch mass contact drive

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Chaudhary Munir, among others, called on the ex-PM at the latter’s house in Raiwind.

Apparently worried and looking to catch up with the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Peoples Party preparing for the upcoming general elections, the leaders decided it was time to take the PML-N into election mode and launch a mass contact drive.

Rally in Abbottabad on 12th

Those who were consulted by the PML-N president also felt that since the PTI and PPP had already begun their election campaigns, it would not be wise for the PML-N to procrastinate.

Sources said the first public meeting would be held in Abbottabad on Nov 12, while the schedule for other meetings would be announced later.

Apparently, the participants of the meeting were united in their decision to focus their attention on south Punjab, where the PTI has been organising its events.

Speaker Sadiq apprised the PML-N chief about the apparent reasons behind why opposition parties were now backing out after arriving at an agreement regarding the delimitation of constituencies in light of the recently held population census.

The former PM was quoted as urging the NA speaker to use his good offices to remove the reservations, if any, regarding the draft law so that the issue would not delay the general election which is due in nine months.

Later while speaking to journalists, Mr Sadiq said he had convened a meeting in Islamabad on Monday to address the reservations of some parties, particularly from Sindh, on the issue of delimitations. The meeting will also be attended by the officials of the Statistics Division.

Responding to a question, he said there was no room for a technocrats’ set-up in the Constitution. Those who could not come to power through votes were trying to introduce the set-up so that they could enjoy power. He jibed at “those who had gotten their sherwanis stitched” (those ready to take oath as ministers), saying that they could forget about a technocrats’ set-up for at least the next 30 years.

About the PTI chief’s threat to stage another sit-in, Mr Sadiq said the previous sit-in had not born the PTI any fruit, and neither would another sit-in.

To a question about the protocol provided to Mr Sharif during his accountability court appearances, the NA speaker said those who were being critical about the issue ought to remember that Mr Sharif was a thrice-elected prime minister who had fought the all-important war against terrorism, which is why he needed tight security.

Talking to journalists separately, the railways minister warned the parties opposing the draft delimitation law that their actions could jeopardise the government’s efforts to hold the general elections on time. He also asked PTI chairman Imran Khan to take a break from public meetings and work to get the delimitation law passed so that the election could be held as soon as possible.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2017

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