ISLAMABAD: In a significant move, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday expelled its five MPAs who had met Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar without the permission of its leadership and issued show-cause notices to four party senators for skipping last month’s crucial joint sitting of the parliament in which the opposition faced a narrow defeat on the FATF-related bills.
According to PML-N’s information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, notifications regarding the expulsion of the MPAs (members of provincial assembly) were issued by president of the party’s Punjab chapter Rana Sanaullah after getting a go-ahead from secretary general Ahsan Iqbal.
Those who have been expelled from the party are Nishat Ahmed Daha and Faisal Niazi from Khanewal, Mian Jalil Ahmed Sharaqpuri from Sheikhupura, Muhammad Ghiasuddin from Narowal and Ashraf Ansari from Gujranwala.
An MPA from Muzaffargarh, Azhar Abbas, was also among those MPAs who had met Mr Buzdar, but the party did not take any action against him as, according to Ms Aurangzeb, he had “apologised and answered” the notice and never met the chief minister again.
Four senators given show-cause notices for skipping joint sitting of parliament
When contacted, Nishat Daha, who is considered to be the leader of the group, said the PML-N had already suspended his basic membership and now he had come to know that he had been expelled from the party with his four other colleagues.
Mr Daha said that he had no plans to file an appeal against the leadership’s decision as “it will be of no use”.
In response to a question, he said that he would not resign from the assembly. Instead, he challenged the PML-N to ask its members to submit their resignations in line with the announcement that was made at the Sept 20 multiparty conference (MPC) of the opposition parties.
When asked if he would continue to sit on the opposition benches in the Punjab Assembly, he first replied that it would be decided by Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and then said that he had not yet decided about the matter.
Mr Daha, with five other PML-N MPAs, had met Chief Minister Buzdar earlier this year for ‘seeking funds for their constituencies’ amid reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan was considering replacing Mr Buzdar with some other party leader due to his poor performance. The reports, however, were later strongly rebutted by the prime minister himself, saying that Mr Buzdar was going nowhere.
Peoples Party MPA Ghazanfar Ali Khan Langah had also met the chief minister.
This ‘rebel’ group within PML-N later reportedly began efforts to enhance its numbers to form a ‘forward bloc’ reportedly on the wish of the chief minister to consolidate his position.
After his meeting with Mr Buzdar, Mr Daha had criticised PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for staying abroad and stated that Mr Buzdar had listened to their (rebel group’s) problems and did the needful.
A Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader had stated that efforts to carve out a ‘strong forward bloc’ in the PML-N was Buzdar’s ‘own initiative’ aimed to consolidate his position in the face of his weak standing in his own party.
The PML-N through opposition leader in the Senate has also issued show-cause notices to four of its senators who were not present in the joint sitting of the parliament on Sept 16 at the time of crucial vote on the bills related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The notices have been issued to Kalsoom Parveen from Balochistan, Shamim Afridi from (the former) Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Dilawar Khan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Rahila Magsi, who belongs to Sindh but had been elected on a seat for women from Islamabad.
Talking to Dawn, Ms Aurangzeb said the party had not issued show-cause notice to any of its MNAs who were absent from the joint sitting as they had been found to have genuine reasons for not being able to attend the sitting.
The opposition had faced a 200-190 vote defeat in the joint sitting of parliament and there were reports that some of the opposition members had intentionally skipped the proceedings to facilitate the passage of the FATF-related bills after “a behind-the-scenes understanding” with the government.
Both the PPP and PML-N had taken notice of the reports and announced that they would take action against their members if they failed to give proper explanation for being absent from the sitting.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2020