- Deposed prime minister will be ‘Quaid’ of PML-N for life
- Nawaz Sharif criticises judiciary for giving ‘dictatorial’ verdicts
- Shehbaz Sharif says journey of progress to continue under Nawaz’s leadership
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday finally made Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif its acting president, putting an end to all rumours in this regard.
Shehbaz will head the PML-N for up to 45 days until the party elects a leader. Shehbaz’s name as the party’s interim president was nominated by his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The office of the party president fell vacant last week after the Supreme Court revoked Clause 203 of the Election Act, 2017, holding former premier Nawaz Sharif ineligible to retain the PML-N presidency owing to his disqualification on July 28.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had given the party seven days to appoint its acting president for which the name of Shehbaz Sharif was finalised on Sunday.
The announcement was made in PML-N’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting held in Lahore and presided by Nawaz Sharif. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also attended the meeting and arrived at the CWC via helicopter. Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz were also present during the meeting.
The ruling party also elected Nawaz Sharif as ‘Quaid’ of the party for life. The proposal was pitched by Raja Zafarul Haq, PM Abbasi and Shehbaz Sharif, and gained ‘resounding’ approval from the CWC, Maryam Nawaz tweeted.
“PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq proposed Nawaz’s elevation as ‘quaid for life’, saying “Mian Nawaz Sharif was, is and Inshallah will remain the leader of the PML-N.”
His proposal, followed by chants of “Wazir-e-Azam, Nawaz Sharif“, 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,” tweeted Maryam.
Soon after the decision was taken, Maryam tweeted a picture of her father and uncle embracing one another.
“We are Alhamdolilah ONE. We stand united. PML-N stands united,” she tweeted.
Maryam walked up to the stage to congratulate her uncle on his appointment as the party’s interim president.
‘DISQULIFICATION VERDICT A DICTATORIAL DECISION’:
Addressing the meeting, Nawaz Sharif said that despite there being no dictatorship in the country, the verdicts from the judiciary echo of a dictatorship-like era. He also said he will stand up against such decisions.
“Nobody can bury history,” he said, adding that elected prime ministers haven’t been allowed to work for a complete tenure in the country’s history, the sanctity of vote has also desecrated.
“How long will this keep happening and how long can the country function like this,” he questioned. He said the elected representatives work hard for the betterment of the people, but anti-democratic forces sack them, creating a crisis-like situation.
He also stated that the nation knows what the political leaders and parties bring to the table; ushering in a new era of prosperity, peace in Karachi. The former PM said: “It has been more than six months, yet not even an iota of corruption evidence have been proved against me in the court but despite that I was sent home packing by the judiciary”.
The ex-party chief also said he was stripped of the party presidency, despite it being the party workers’ right to elect whomever they see fit to lead their party. He asked if he was wrong to react after such verdicts.
Nawaz also said taking oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was a much bigger crime. He lashed out at the judiciary that they keep taking PCO oaths and defend dictators. He questioned how the judiciary could think that the common man would accept its verdicts after it keeps taking oaths under PCO.
He further added that the politicians were an easy target, as the judiciary won’t dare put their hands on the dictators. At least he couldn’t accept their verdicts.
‘JOURNEY OF PROGRESS TO CONTINUE UNDER NAWAZ’S LEADERSHIP’:
On the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said that Nawaz Sharif had rejected Rs5 billion for the sake of national security.
Shehbaz said that he has always seen Nawaz Sharif trying hard to unite the party in every difficult situation, adding that the country has developed under his leadership.
He further pledged to continue the journey of progress and stability in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is going through the most serious moments of its political life and now, I consider it as a good luck that we have the patronage of an experienced and far-sighted political leader in shape of Nawaz Sharif in these circumstances. There is no bigger honour for me that a leader of the stature of Nawaz Sharif has selected me for this post. My heart and mind are asking me again and again that if any other person could replace Nawaz Sharif and the love which the people have showered at him always can be shared with any other person? Certainly, it is next to impossible. As I have stated that I have had the opportunity to serve the country and my party for more than 30 years as a younger brother and trusted lieutenant of Nawaz Sharif and I consider this service as a lifelong asset,” he said.
On February 21, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from being the head of the PML-N.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, issued a short order on petitions filed against Sharif’s holding of the party position after his disqualification in the Panama Papers case.
In its five-page order, read by Chief Justice Nisar, the court declares that any person who is disqualified under the Article 62 or 63 of the Constitution is barred from holding the position of “Party Head” by whatever name called.