The PML-N on Friday suspended the party membership of six Punjab Assembly lawmakers and issued show cause notices to them for "violating party discipline and contravening rules" by meeting Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and "expressing confidence in the prime minister's and the CM's leadership".
The notices were issued to Azhar Abbas (PP-269, Muzaffargarh), Muhammad Arshad (PP-244, Bahawalnagar), Muhammad Faisal Khan Niazi (PP-209, Khanewal), Choudhry Ashraf Ali (PP-57, Gujranwala), Abu Hafas Ghayasuddin (PP-47, Narowal) and Nishat Ahmed Daha (PP-206, Khanewal).
On March 10, the six lawmakers, along with one Punjab Assembly lawmaker from the PPP, had called on the Punjab chief minister.
A press release issued by the CM’s office had said that former MNA Tahir Bashir Cheema had also accompanied the MPAs, who “reposed their complete trust in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Buzdar and announced continuing lending their unconditional support to the government.”
According to the notices issued today, signed by PML-N Punjab General Secretary Sardar Awais Khan Leghari, a “press release in electronic and print media on March 10 showed [the lawmakers] meeting Buzdar”.
“In the past, a meeting with the prime minister, who is also the chairman of the PTI, was also held without any legal/moral justification or prior intimation.”
It added that the above information had not been denied by the lawmakers in the media.
“Hence, your basic party memberships have been suspended forthwith and you are hereby directed to show cause as to why the violations were committed,” the notice said.
It directed the lawmakers to submit a reply in this regard within the next seven days, adding that a failure to do so would result in legal action being initiated against them.
PML-N demands Shehbaz's return
Earlier in the week, the PML-N leadership had demanded the return of party president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif from London, where he has been since November 2019.
The demand was made by Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha during a meeting of PML-N's parliamentary party and was backed by the leadership. Shehbaz had left for London last year, along with PML-N supremo and his older brother Nawaz Sharif, who was seeking medical treatment.
In the meeting , Senator Pir Sabir Shah had complained that the party had "suffered damage by putting behind the stance of the supremo (Nawaz Sharif)".
He had said that PML-N should have "taken advantage of PTI's poor performance", adding that the party's performance in the parliament had disappointed the people. He had went on to warn that if the party did not stick to Nawaz's stance, it would lose the support of the masses.
Shah had criticised that only leaders from Punjab were included in PML-N's decision-making. He had demanded that the party should give representation to leaders from provinces other than Punjab in its decision-making process "even if it is only symbolic".
PML-N leader Javed Latif had also spoke during the meeting and had said that the party leadership should consult more members before making decisions. He had insisted that the party should take practical steps as "targets cannot be achieved by talking". He had urged the party leadership to "move forward and prepare the party for protest".
Latif had also predicted that the party will have to face tough criticism as it had "made a mistake which would be realised in times to come". He had not specified the "mistake" he was referring to.