LAHORE: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif on Monday “directed” the governments of his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz in the Centre and Punjab, respectively, to take the party on board in the decision-making on important issues.

During a maiden meeting after becoming the party’s president on Monday, the elder Sharif made it clear that both governments should be free from “bureaucratic influence”.

PML-N Punjab President and Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Rana Sanaullah and Khawaja Saad Rafique briefed the former prime minister on the government’s talks with the PPP to mitigate its concerns and the proposal to hold negotiations with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

“A detailed discussion took place in a meeting with Nawaz Sharif today in which he sought suggestions for enhancing the role of the party in the government affairs. He also wants the government to take important administrative decisions in consultation with the party,” Rana Sanaullah told Dawn after the meeting.

Chairs first huddle after regaining control of PML-N; briefed on talks with PPP, Imran’s ‘obstinacy’

He further said that Mr Sharif had convened a meeting of the party’s senior leaders, including Prime Minister Shehbaz and Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, after the approval of the respective budgets to hammer out these issues.

“There has been an impression that the government has bureaucratic footprints in its decision-making which have to be replaced with political ones,” he added.

Mr Sanaullah said that PPP’s main concern was that it had not been taken on board by the government in the decision-making process. “We told the PPP that the PML-N is also facing the same issue. However, the PPP has been assured by the government that from now on it will be consulted,” he added.

Imran averse to dialogue

The issue of talks with the PTI also came under discussion during the meeting with Nawaz Sharif.

“Mr Sharif was told that Imran Khan had been averse to talks with the government and PML-N. Imran Khan has taken the same old position — no talks with politicians — as he only wants to talk with the establishment,” Mr Sanaullah said.

He further said that Imran Khan’s “obstinate” attitude had earlier cost the country and his PTI dearly. “And his stubbornness will further damage his party and the country.”

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2024

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