LAHORE: A group of PML-N leaders on Thursday reached London to seek guidance from ailing party supremo Nawaz Sharif and president Shahbaz Sharif, especially on the issue of legislation on the extension in service of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Six PML-N leaders – Rana Tanvir Hussain, Khwaja Asif, Marriyum Auranzeb, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Amir Muqam – will meet the Sharif brothers in London this week. Ahsan Iqbal will also join them. The party senior leaders have been called by its president Shahbaz Sharif.

“We will inquire after the party’s supreme leader and also take guidance (from Nawaz and Shahbaz) mainly on the issues of legislation on the extension in service of the army chief and the appointment of the new chief election commissioner (CEC),” PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb told Dawn before the group’s departure. She said the party leaders would return after the consultation in a week.

Sources said the leaders would be mainly given the party line on the issues by Nawaz Sharif. “The style of politics of these main parliamentarians of the PML-N on their return will reflect the mood of the elder Sharif,” they said.

The Supreme Court had in the last week of November allowed extension / reappointment of Gen Bajwa for another six months and asked the government to determine the tenure, terms and conditions of the service of the army chief through legislation within the period.

The PML-N has already cautioned that legislation on the extension of COAS service will not be easy in the parliament if the ‘hostile attitude’ of the Imran Khan-led government towards the opposition persisted.

The PML-N also reacted strongly on the freezing of 23 properties of Shahbaz Sharif and his family members by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying Prime Minister Imran Khan and company was sabotaging the legislation on the issue.

“Imran Khan does not seem to be serious on the issue of legislation on the appointment of the army chief and the CEC, that is why his government is pushing both the opposition parties -- the PML-N and the PPP -- to the wall,” another PML-N leader said.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019