PESHAWAR, July 25: Differences in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are deepening with each passing day as provincial leaders of the party are not ready to listen to each other.
They are of the opinion that the issue has got so complicated that only Mian Nawaz Sharif, central head of the party, can resolve it.
Some of the provincial leaders of the party have approached Mr Sharif to intervene but for him, too, it will be difficult to take action against any of the two main rivals — Capt (retired) Safdar and Pir Sabir Shah.
Both of them are important for Mr Sharif as Safdar is his son-in-law and Pir Sabir Shah is provincial president of the party.
With the entry of Amir Muqam, former provincial president of PML-Q, into PML-N on April 6 this year, people from different parties had started joining the party in the province but the process stopped altogether two months ago when internal differences surfaced in the party.
The insiders are of the view that the differences had started in 2007 when PML-N Mansehra president Aslam Baffa removed his district general secretary Zafar Mehmood. Capt (retired) Safdar, challenging the authority of the district president, appointed the sacked secretary as president of youth wing of the party in the district.
Another reason of the differences is said to be participation of Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi and Pir Sabir Shah in a workers’ convention convened by Aslam Baffa in Mansehra. Both of them had delivered emotional speeches on the occasion that led to the prevailing differences.
During background interviews, the party leaders said that Capt (retired) Safdar was taking revenge from Pir Sabir Shah and provincial general secretary Rehmat Salam Khattak.
He is trying to replace both the office-bearers and in the prevailing situation Amir Muqam is a suitable person to lead the party in the province. It has been learnt that owing to internal differences the party has failed to organise its workers in different districts. Different wings of the party, especially student, women and labour wings, are yet to get office-bearers and most of the offices have been vacant for the past about three years.
A senior PML-N leader said that every group was trying to accommodate its blue-eyed on the vacant posts in the party. If the issue was not resolved immediately it could damage the party, he added. He said that Amir Muqam was also demanding due share in party offices in different districts. However, Rehmat Salam told Dawn that there was no chance of changes in the organisational set-up of the party. He opposed appointment of Habib Ali Shah as provincial general secretary of the youth wing of PML-N.
He said that provincial leaders had already apprised Mian Nawaz Sharif of the situation to stop Safdar from interfering in the party affairs.
Mr Salam said that only a four-member committee comprising Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, Pir Sabir Shah, Amir Muqam and Farid Toofan had the authority to fill the vacant slots in the party with appropriate persons.
The central information secretary of PML-N youth wing, Khadim Ali Khan, when contacted, said that appointments in the youth wing were in accordance with party constitution but some leaders had made it a matter of ego.
“The youth wing in a recent meeting has reposed confidence in its central president Capt (retired) Safdar,” he said. He added that provincial president of the party should be from Pakhtun belt to reorganise it in the hitherto neglected areas.
“We respect Pir Sabir Shah but some of his cabinet members are misleading him. It is the need of the hour to replace those people, who are bent upon weakening the party,” he said.
PML-N central general secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra told Dawn that difference of opinion was soul of democracy but leg pulling was tantamount to destruction of the party.
He asked the rival groups to avoid issuing statements against each other and work for strengthening of the party.