KARACHI: Former finance minister and senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Miftah Ismail has stepped down as its provincial general secretary over growing differences within the opposition party which had lately led to “threats and personal attacks” on him after disagreement over distribution of party tickets for the upcoming cantonment board elections in Karachi, party sources and a copy of his resignation letter available with Dawn said on Tuesday.
In a letter to PML-N general secretary Ahsan Iqbal, Mr Ismail came up with the reasons for his move and cited his response to the recent “personal attacks”. It all began earlier this month when enraged PML-N workers stormed into their own provincial party office, known as Muslim League House, near Karsaz, vandalised the facility, smashed windowpanes, and tore posters of the party’s provincial leadership, in protest over “unjustified” distribution of party tickets for the upcoming cantonment boards’ elections.
The PML-N Sindh chapter had issued tickets to its candidates for various seats for the polls in the six cantonment boards in the metropolis.
However, a group of annoyed workers arrived at the party office to protest against the provincial leadership, particularly president Shah Mohammad Shah and general secretary Miftah Ismail, for the “unjust distribution of the party tickets among blue-eyed persons of the provincial leadership”.
Cites threatening, foul language being used against him by party activists as reason
They rejected the committee formed for the distribution of tickets, and demanded that the central leadership form a new committee to redistribute the tickets.
It did not end there and the tussle continued between two groups of the party which finally led to the major decision by Mr Ismail.
“As you know there was an attack on PML-N House in Karachi and property [was] damaged and destroyed,” said Mr Ismail in the letter to Mr Iqbal. “[In the same incident] threatening, obnoxious and unacceptable language was used against me. All of this was proudly put on social media as well. The party issued show-cause notices to some of the culprits but no action has since been taken. However even after the issuance of show-cause notices, threatening and aggressive speeches are continuing against me.”
Finally, he said, there was continuing “false propaganda” against him that he had asked the party’s cantonment board candidates to delete pictures of certain national leaders.
“After more than a decade in this party where I have served to the best of my ability I am neither going to prove my loyalty to anyone nor will tolerate threatening and personal attacks of the worst sort against me,” said Mr Ismail.
“Under these circumstances it has become impossible for me to be effective as the general secretary of Sindh PML-N. I therefore resign this position with immediate effect. I thank you and the leadership for giving me the opportunity to serve as GS, Sindh PML-N.”
Meanwhile, the PML-N sources said that the resignation of Mr Ismail had not been accepted immediately and the party leadership would take a final decision in this regard.
“PML-N president Mian Shahbaz Sharif is expected to visit Karachi later this week,” said a PML-N source.
“He would meet the party’s Sindh leadership and also take up the matter of Mr Ismail’s resignation. It would be too early to suggest a final outcome of this issue. So it would be better to wait for a few more days and avoid speculations.”
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2021