LAHORE: PML-N MNA Javed Latif has reportedly become a bone of contention between the two brothers –Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif – after the former reportedly did not agree with the latter (president of the party) to issue the MNA a show-cause notice for indirectly leveling serious allegations against the younger Sharif and his cronies.
“As a mark of protest Mr Shehbaz did not attend two back-to-back divisional level meetings of the party in Lahore, which were also attended by his elder brother (Nawaz),” a party insider privy to the development told Dawn on Thursday. Hamza Shehbaz also did not attend these meetings, supporting his father’s stance.
The insider said Shehbaz might end his silent protest and attend next divisional level meetings on assurance of ‘some action’ against Latif.
“Shehbaz Sharif, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, is very upset over Latif’s rant against him and his cronies. He wanted to issue a show-cause notice (to Latif) for violating the party discipline but Nawaz stopped him, asking him to wait for a while,” the insider claimed, adding that since Shehbaz dared not challenge his elder brother’s opinion, he chose to register a silent protest by not attending the party meetings he was supposed to preside over.
Maryam denies report, terms it ‘propaganda by the enemy’
Javed Latif, who had come close to Maryam Nawaz after going to jail, had told a private news channel that four to five leaders in the PML-N were on an ‘assignment’.
“These persons have been given the assignment to distort the PML-N’s narrative (respect the ballot). Whenever the campaign against the government reaches a decisive phase, one of them tries to defuse it. Those on this are those who are talking about ‘reconciliation’. I don’t want to name them but when seasoned leaders cause damage to the narrative, this is not possible without an assignment (from the establishment),” Latif had said and alleged that these four or five leaders in the PML-N got assignments from those who did not believe in law and the constitution. “These leaders must remember the fate of Chaudhry Nisar,” Latif had warned.
“This is simply outrageous. Latif thinks that he has got the licence to take on Shehbaz and other senior leaders after securing the blessings of Maryam Nawaz,” a senior leader considered to be from the Shehbaz group said.
“Latif should not only be served with a show cause but strict action be taken against him for crossing the red line,” he suggested, saying that Latif’s outburst against Shehbaz and others was at the behest of someone in the top of the Nawaz and Maryam camp.
Latif, an MNA from Sheikhupura district, was released from jail a couple of months ago in a case of ‘inciting people against the state institutions’.
In a television programme, he had said his party would not say “Pakistan Khappay” (Long Live Pakistan) if anything happened to its vice president Maryam Nawaz.
When contacted by Dawn, Malik Ahmad Khan, the newly appointed spokesperson for Shehbaz Sharif, admitted that Mr Latif had violated the party discipline.
“The party president (Shehbaz) has taken a serious note of Latif’s uncalled for comments and the power to issue a show-cause to him (Latif) rests with him,” Mr Khan said.
However, according to a news channel, PML-N vice president denied the reports, urging the party workers not to pay attention to the ‘propaganda by the enemy,’ saying Nawaz and Shehbaz ‘are one’.
“This is a democratic party. Differences in opinion may exist. This does not mean that one raises questions pertaining to party leadership,” she said, addressing a gathering of workers from Bahawalpur division. “When it comes to the party leadership, everyone agrees with Nawaz Sharif as well as Shehbaz Sharif,” she said.
Latif did not respond to Dawn’s queries.
Nawaz Sharif also addressed the party meeting of the Bahawalpur division via a video link from London. It was attended by Maryam Nawaz, Pervaiz Rashid, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Khurram Dastgir, Awais Leghari and Azma Bokhari.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2021