PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif approved major changes to the party's structure on Friday, with former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi being named the PML-N senior vice president and Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, being appointed a vice president for the first time.
Shahbaz, who is currently in the United Kingdom, issued the names of the new party office-bearers after approval from his elder brother, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz, and consultation with other party leaders, PML-N sources said.
The restructuring of the party also sees Ahsan Iqbal, who was previously the party's acting secretary general, being named the PML-N secretary general, and Hamza Shahbaz making it to the list of 16 vice presidents that also includes Maryam. Both Maryam and Hamza were previously named members of the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC).
The other 14 vice presidents include: Abid Sher Ali, Ayaz Sadiq, Chaudhry Barjees Tahir, Dr Darshan Lal Punchi, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khurram Dastagir, Mian Javed Latif, Mohammad Zubair, Mushahidullah Khan, Nelson Azeem, Pervaiz Rasheed, Raheela Durrani, Rana Tanveer Hussain and Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan.
Former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who is facing a corruption reference for allegedly owning assets beyond known sources of income and is out of the country, has been appointed the president of international affairs, Marriyum Aurangzeb the information secretary, Pervez Malik the finance secretary, and Tariq Fatemi the secretary policy and research.
Baleeghur Rahman and Attaullah Tarar have been named deputy secretary generals and Abbas Afridi and Talal Chaudhry as the joint secretaries.
Former provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah has been appointed the president of PML-N Punjab, with Sardar Awais Leghari named as the general secretary, Hanif Abbasi the senior vice president, Khawaja Salman Rafique vice president and Azma Bukhari information secretary, among others, of the provincial chapter.
Miftah Ismail has been named the general secretary of PML-N Sindh and Ali Akbar Gujjar the senior vice president.
Salman Ali Khan has been announced as the president of PML-N Karachi and Nasir ud Din Mehmood the general secretary.
The PML-N has also named a 13-member Economic Advisory Council with the following as its members:
- Shahbaz Sharif
- Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
- Ishaq Dar
- Ahsan Iqbal
- Khawaja Asif
- Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh
- Mohammad Zubair
- Miftah Ismail
- Ayesha Ghaus Pasha
- Mushahid Hussain Syed
- Musaddik Malik
- Ali Pervez Malik
- Bilal Azhar Kiyani
As reports of a flurry of new appointments to positions within the PML-N began circulating earlier on Friday, PML-N spokesperson Dr Mussadik Malik had confirmed that the party was being restructured.
Since Shahbaz is out of the country, Abbasi, as the senior vice president, will be able to use powers of the party president as per the constitution of the PML-N.
A meeting of the party's senior leadership, including Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah and Khawaja Asif, had been called today, ostensibly to discuss the situation arising after the denial of Nawaz's bail petition by the Supreme Court and to determine a future course of action for the party.
However, the meeting was later postponed, with party sources saying that the spokesperson would reveal the PML-N's strategy.
Yesterday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan while speaking to Geo News alleged that the PML-N president intended to stay in London.
"If he wanted to return from London, he [Shahbaz] would not even appoint someone as a chowkidar [guard] outside his home," Geo News quoted her as saying. "They [Sharifs] divide these positions within the family. If they have started appointing people outside the family to these positions, it indicates this is the first step towards an NRO."