LAHORE: PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb has been assigned the task in Punjab by the party supremo Nawaz Sharif to ‘assist’ his daughter Maryam Nawaz in handling the provincial government’s affairs.

Ms Aurangzeb, a former federal information minister, on Friday took oath sitting next to her boss Maryam Nawaz in the Punjab Assembly. Ms Aurangzeb chose not to comment on Dawn’s queries regarding her role in Punjab and which ministry/ministries she was going to have. However, the arrival of Ms Aurangzeb as ‘PSO’ (personal staff officer) to Maryam Nawaz who is going to be the first woman chief minister of the province in the coming few days has caused a commotion among the ranks of the party MPAs.

“Some MPAs are of the view that Ms Aurangzeb will make it difficult for them to have a direct access to Ms Nawaz,” a party insider told Dawn who feared that Ms Aurangzeb would use all her experience she had in the Centre to assist her boss but also would make sure that she (Maryam Nawaz) was inaccessible to everyone (MPAs).

Earlier, she was considered close to Shehbaz Sharif as she would go to almost every foreign trip along with the Sharif junior being the prime minister.

Ex-federal minister keeps mum on her new role in Punjab

“Since for the first time, Maryam Nawaz is assuming any top public office and she is feeling a bit nervous; therefore, she needed an experienced companion to assist her both in the Punjab Assembly and handling bureaucracy. Ms Aurangzeb was chosen by the elder Sharif for this job,” the party insider said.

Another PML-N leader said Ms Aurangzeb must be happy to be the ‘shadow of Ms Nawaz’ as practically she (Aurangzeb) would be acting as deputy chief minister at times.

“Not only the party MPAs but the civil bureaucracy in the province must also be looking to explore ways to develop good PR (public relations) with the former federal minister for their political requirements and postings, respectively,” he said.

On the other hand, former chief minister and Shehbaz Sharif’s son Hamza Shehbaz was conspicuous by his absence in the Punjab Assembly on the oath-taking of his cousin as the CM in the Punjab Assembly. Their relative, Ishaq Dar, was present there to congratulate Ms Nawaz but Hamza chose to stay away.

The most vulnerable in the party are the MPAs who are considered very close to Hamza as they may not get important portfolios in Ms Nawaz’s cabinet. Hamza who is elected on both national and provincial assemblies seats is going to the Centre where his father will be the premier.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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