Nawaz reclaims ‘N’ in PML-N after 6 years

Published May 28, 2024
PML-N President Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N President Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N President Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N President Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was elected as the PML-N president unopposed on Tuesday after six years, a development that was widely expected after he was acquitted last year in all the graft cases against him.

Earlier today, while sharing a video of preparations for the party’s general council meeting, the PML-N had said: “Lion is returning to take his rightful place at the top.”

The PML-N supremo returned to the party’s helm six years after he lost the party president’s office due to a Supreme Court decision in the Panama Papers case.

Addressing the general council meeting, Nawaz told the charged crowd that it had to rejoice not because of his reassuming the presidency but because “Saqib Nisar’s decision has been thrown into the dustbin.

“Call those who decided that Nawaz is disqualified forever. Today, Nawaz is standing before you again. Why was the decision made and for what reason? That Nawaz didn’t take a salary from his son.”

Nawaz congratulated his party members and brother for steadfastly holding on to the party banner through its tribulations. He alleged that many forces had tried to create discord in his relationship with his brother and PML-N supporters but Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif continued to stay loyal.

The PML-N president claimed that many years ago his brother was offered the prime minister’s seat on the condition of sidelining Nawaz but the younger Sharif rejected the offer.

Nawaz also lauded PML-N scions Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz for facing many trials, including prison sentences, with “bravery and strength” for the party and country’s sake.

The PML-N president praised his brother for his government’s performance, saying economic indicators were already improving. He urged him to work with commitment, saying there would be some one to two years of hardship but then would arrive prosperity.

Addressing the general council meeting before him, Shehbaz congratulated his brother on reassuming the party presidency.

“The injustice which was committed against you in 2017 … God has restored you to the position and respect as before with this great majority.”

He said the responsibility and trust which was given to him was today returned to Nawaz. Shehbaz said those who had tried to “humiliate” Nawaz’s achievements and services to the nation through “betrayal and fraud” were today shamed themselves while his brother stood vindicated.

The prime minister said his brother was disqualified in bogus and baseless cases, adding that even his opponents were forced to admit the injustice with the elder Sharif.

Shehbaz directly accused PTI founder Imran Khan of being behind the alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections, saying that “Nawaz’s winning election was turned into a defeat.”

The prime minister excoriated the PTI founder for allegedly criticising the army.

Earlier, PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah detailed the party’s electoral procedure while addressing the general council meeting. He said Shehbaz had resigned from the role of PML-N president on May 11, citing the reason as a “conspiracy” against Nawaz in 2018 and “fake cases against him in violation of law and Constitution”.

He recalled that Shehbaz’s resignation was accepted during a central working committee meeting of the party on May 18, and he was requested to continue holding the position till the election.

Sanaullah added that during the meeting, the PML-N’s election commission was appointed with him, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Ishrat Ashraf, Jamal Shah Kakar and Khel Das as the members.

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal congratulated the general council for a successful election.

He said the party demanded that the conspirators who used Nawaz to target Pakistan should be brought to the courts

Iqbal said these individuals should be answerable for pushing Pakistan to default and further isolating the country in the international community.

“They should be answerable so that some reparations are done for the harm done to the country,” he added.

The intra-party elections were held during the party’s general council meeting, which was held in Lahore. As many as 11 party members had received the no­m­ination papers for the top slot.

The PML-N had announced convening the meeting on May 11 for the purpose but it was postponed to coincide with the celebr­ation of 26 years of Pakis­tan becoming a nuclear power.

Addressing a press conference, Sanaullah — also the political aide of PM Shehbaz — had hinted that Nawaz would be elected without a contest.

When asked if there was any other candidate agai­nst the elder Sharif, he said if any party member wanted to contest against him, they should come forward. When asked why the party did not adopt a democratic process to vote for a new president, Sanaul­lah had said: “PML [Pakistan Mus­lim League] was a ‘londi’ (servant) of power corridors. It was Nawaz Sharif who made it a party of the public.”

Nawaz was removed as the party president in 2018 after a Supreme Court bench headed by then-chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as the head of a political party.

Only a few months before this decision, he had been disqualified for life by the apex court in the Panama Papers-related corruption cases.

The indication of Nawaz retaking the helm was given last month when the members of the PML-N Punjab chapter passed a resolution urging him to lead the party since he had been acquitted in all corruption cases after his arrival from London in October last year.

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