Nawaz to virtually participate in multiparty conference

Updated 19 Sep 2020

Email

Nawaz Sharif has stayed away from publicly commenting or engaging with the media for the last two years. — DawnNewsTV/File
Nawaz Sharif has stayed away from publicly commenting or engaging with the media for the last two years. — DawnNewsTV/File

LONDON / ISLAMABAD: After ostensibly staying away from public meetings and political activity for more than a year, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif will virtually attend the opposition-led multiparty conference (MPC) scheduled to be held on Sunday (tomorrow).

Soon after PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari tweeted that he telephoned Mr Sharif in London to invite him to attend the MPC online, sources told Dawn the former prime minister would attend the conference.

Senator Musadik Malik on a Samaa TV talk show confirmed Nawaz Sharif’s participation and said that the former PM would attend virtually and also address the MPC. “Maryam Nawaz will also attend the MPC,” said Mr Malik.

While other party representatives, including Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, have shared their views on ongoing cases and the political situation from time to time, Nawaz Sharif has stayed away from publicly commenting or engaging with the media for the last two years. In London, where he has been since November 2019, Nawaz Sharif has maintained a low public profile and refrained from responding to journalists’ questions about various political developments. Although he has met with visiting PML-N representatives and other politicians and diplomats over the year, he has not made any comments directly.

Bilawal invites opposition leaders to Sept 20 moot

The announcement that he will attend the MPC has sparked speculation that the PML-N leader may now break his silence and play a more public political role. Some have tied his upcoming MPC participation to the possibility of his return to Pakistan. However, the Sharif family did not make a comment on these rumours.

Bilawal’s invitation

Earlier, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday invited Nawaz Sharif to attend the MPC to be held in Islamabad through video link.

The PPP chairman announced that he had made a telephone call to Nawaz Sharif, who is in London for medical treatment, to inquire about his health and invited him to the conference to be hosted by the PPP.

“Just spoke to Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. Enquired about his health. Also invited him to virtually attend opposition APC, hosted by PPP, on 20th September,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said in his tweet.

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said in her tweet: “Thank You Bilawal. Warm regards and prayers.”

The opposition parties have decided to convene an MPC in Islamabad on Sunday. They want to formulate a strategy to give tough time to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government over bad governance, sugar and wheat scandals and inflation.

Meanwhile, preparations for the MPC are in full swing. The conference will be held at a local hotel. A two-point agenda of the moot has been finalised.

The PPP started the work to finalise the agenda of the MPC and contacted the PML-N and the Jamiaat Ulema-i-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) to discuss its points.

Talking to the media, PPP secretary general Syed Nayyar Husain Bukhari said that invitations had been sent to all opposition parties by Mr Bhutto-Zardari and the opposition parties had given names of their delegation members.

He said that the PML-N delegation would comprise Shahbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif, Ayaz Sadiq, Ameer Maqam and Maryam Aurangzeb and the JUI-F delegation would include Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Akram Durrani and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. Other opposition parties have also sent names of their delegates.

Mr Bukhari said that the opposition parties had the discretion to make any change in their delegations before the conference.

He said that the PPP had finalised the agenda of the MPC and two-year performance of the government and future political strategy would be on the agenda. He said that the PPP leadership had sought recommendations from other opposition parties to finalise the agenda.

Later, Mr Bukhari and PPP senior leader Sherry Rehman met Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb and other PML-N leaders in Islamabad. They held discussions on the resolution to be adopted by the MPC.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2020