LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held a meeting with his elder brother and former premier Nawaz Sharif and discussed the recent political developments and party affairs including selection of a new party president.
Sources said the upcoming Senate elections, the graft cases against the Sharif family and selection of a new PML-N president came under discussion.
The meeting took place days before a scheduled meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee to nominate an acting party president in line with the party constitution until a new chief is elected within 45 days.
Reports say the Punjab chief minister would be appointed as interim president of the party.
A Central Working Committee meeting is scheduled in Lahore at PML-N Secretariat on Tuesday (tomorrow) to elect the acting party president and announce a date for the PML-N Council meeting.
In the aftermath of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from the presidency of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the ruling party has been holding consultations for selection of a consensus candidate for the slot.
Reports suggest that Maryam Nawaz, daughter of the former premier, is also being considered for the position.
It would be a tough challenge for the party to elect its chief as electing either one of the two possible candidates – Shahbaz and Maryam, – is likely to offend the other.
Since July 28 when Sharif was dislodged from the office of the prime minister of Pakistan, speculations about a power struggle between his side of the family and that of Shahbaz Sharif have been rife.
However, members of the ruling party have often denied such rumours. Of late, in a show of unity, the former premier and his daughter shared stage with his younger brother Shahbaz and nephew MNA Humza Shahbaz during a public meeting in Lodhran.
A number of PML-N leaders from Punjab want to see Shahbaz Sharif taking over the reins of the party.
Maryam’s elevation to the top party slot is likely to affront some senior party leaders who repeatedly disapproved of the idea of electing her to the top position in the past.
Among them is PML-N stalwart and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar, who recently made it clear that he would not serve in the ruling PML-N under the leadership of juniors.
Sharif disqualified from being PML-N chief
On Feb 21, former premier Nawaz Sharif was also declared ineligible to head his party.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar gave this verdict on a number of petitions challenging the controversial amendment to the Election Act 20117, which allowed Sharif to head his party.
The court also declared that all decisions taken by Nawaz as PML-N president since July 28 stand null and void after the judgment.