PM scrambling political support as anti-corruption drive heads home

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The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is scrambling political forces of the country as pressure is mounting on it to expand the anti-corruption campaign into Punjab.

Informed sources have told Pakistan Today that sensing the ‘danger’ at the gates of his political stronghold of Punjab, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has started meeting political leaderships of various parties to ‘send a message’ to the forces behind the anti-corruption campaign – an important point in the National Action Plan (NAP) which seeks to plug finances for terrorists and their facilitators.

“The prime minister had also hinted towards the pressure on him during the recently held Kissan Convention when he said that ‘they want to throw me out so as they can take the reins’,” said the sources. The PM, however, stopped short of elaborating his apprehensions.

“This is the same strategy the PML-N had adopted during ‎the sit-ins last year. If the pressure continues, the government might summon a National Assembly session and the matter might be discussed in the House as well,” a PML-N leader said.

The premier has recently held separate meetings with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman and ‎Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party head Mahmood Khan Achakzai. He also phoned PML-F chief Pir Pagaro on Wednesday and took him into confidence over the evolving situation. The source added that the premier plans to meet ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan for the same purpose. He is also likely to hold an exclusive meeting with the four chief ministers in the next few days to show that all political leaders stand by him, said the source.

‎The sources added that the PM was also in touch with the PPP leadership over the issue and the statement of support from opposition leader Khursheed Shah ‎was meant to send a message to everyone that all politicians are standing behind the elected premier of the country.

“The government will not allow any adventure in Punjab where everything is going fine. No one will be allowed to challenge the government’s writ,” the source added.

Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid was unavailable to comment on the issue.