PML-N elects Nawaz Sharif as ‘Quaid for life’
The PML-N has elected Nawaz Sharif “as its Quaid (leader) for life”, Maryam Nawaz Sharif tweeted on Tuesday as the PML-N Central Working Committee meeting (CWC) was underway at the Sharif family’s Model Town residence in Lahore.
“PML-N elects Nawaz Sharif as its Quaid for life. Raja Zafarul Haq, Prime Minister Abbasi and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s proposal elicited a resounding approval from [the] CWC,” Maryam said.
PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq proposed Nawaz’s elevation as the ‘quaid for life’ which was endorsed by Prime Minister Abbasi who said: “These are the peoples’ decisions. The courts had no right to take this decision — this our party’s decision.”
The meeting is being held to decide on a candidate to serve as interim president of the party following a Supreme Court ruling ordering the removal of Nawaz Sharif as party chief. The interim president will be chosen to run the PML-N for up to 45 days until the party elects a leader.
Nawaz Sharif proposed the name of his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz as the interim president of the party after being asked by the PML-N General Secretary Ahsan Iqbal.
The emergency measures kicked in for the party after the Supreme Court (SC) struck off a controversial amendment to the Elections Act, 2017 which had last year paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to resume leadership of the party after being disqualified in the Panama Papers case in July last year.
According to the party’s rules, the PML-N’s CWC is supposed to elect an acting party head within a week of its chief’s removal. Then the party’s general council is required to elect a president within 45 days. Nawaz was removed from the post of PML-N president by the apex court on Feb 22.
Party leaders, including NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Governor Punjab Rafiq Rajwana, Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair and Railways Minister Saad Rafique, are present at the meeting chaired by PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq along with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is being tipped as the favourite for the position, and his brother Nawaz.
“At the moment, there is no candidate for the slot of interim president of PML-N other than Shahbaz Sharif. However, the CWC will hold deliberations before electing the proposed member for the top party post,” PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan earlier told Dawn, adding that the CWC might also propose a candidate for the post of PML-N’s Punjab president if the younger Sharif becomes party head.
Interestingly, the SC ruling had rendered all decisions Nawaz Sharif had taken in the capacity of the party chief as null and void. This raises a question mark over the legal status of PML-N’s CWC, which has 109 members nominated by Nawaz while he was party president.
Keeping this technical issue in mind, the PML-N’s information secretary said that only those CWC members who were elected before the July 28 decision had been called for Tuesday’s meeting.