Ideological battles will lead to further defection, say ex-PML-N lawmakers

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  • ‘At least 70 electables are part of this movement’

LAHORE: The embattled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seems to have another battle against dissent to fight as a large group of former and current party legislators are preparing to leave the party on the ‘ideological’ grounds, Pakistan Today has learned.

Nawabzada Syed Shams Haider, a former PML-N legislator from Jhelum in the Punjab Assembly, is one of the leaders of this group of the League’s politicians who are planning to leave the party as the general election approaches.

However, rather than having the typical list of grievances against their party leadership, Syed Shams and his cadres claim that they are fighting a larger ideological battle rather than a political one.

“We have supported this party through thick and thin, and there are always ups and downs for any politician, but myself and the others are all old Muslim Leaguers, and we just cannot accept the blatant disrespect and confrontation with state institutions that the Sharif leadership is enforcing on us” he told Pakistan Today.

“There are at least 70 ‘electables’ that are part of this movement. We also have a large number of currently elected representatives of the party.”

By ‘electables’ Syed Shams explains that he means those that have formerly served as legislators for the league, and who have strong support in their respective constituencies. He has also claimed that at least 16 sitting MNAs and 20 MPAs are also in the tank with this like-minded group of PML-N members.

“We are capable of creating a media storm if necessary. We could ask our friends to resign en masse and hold large press conferences, but we want to bring to Pakistan a better kind of politics, and do not wish muddy the reputation of the honourable legislators,” he tells this scribe.

“Even in the recent resignation from South Punjab, we were in contact with many of the former legislators. But we did not make a big deal of it so there is no suspicion as to our intentions,” he added.

“I personally cannot see these honourable men called lotas when they are making an ideological decision, and aligning themselves with the ideology of Pakistan instead of blindly serving the Sharifs,” he went on to say.

And while the numbers being claimed by Syed Shams should be enough to scare the League leadership, the former Punjab MPA hinted at an even larger ideological chasm within the League, which could possibly lead to it fracturing completely.

“All the parties today are centre-right. No room remains for leftism or any aspects of secularism that original League members fought against,” he lamented during the interview.

“Politics in this country has become totally dependent on personalities and not ideologies, and we wish to change this trend and bring Pakistan back to the ideological origins that the Quaid envisioned it with,” he added.

“We need to step away from the continuing trend of capitalist politics. There is a need for leftist ideas in the country and it is the duty of old League supporters like us to take Pakistan to its intended conclusion,” he ended.