Sharifs’ nepotism angers senior PML-N leaders | Pakistan Today

Sharifs’ nepotism angers senior PML-N leaders

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has begun to develop what could be irreparable cracks within the party on the nomination of Ishaq Dar for the vacant post of Senate opposition leader last week, because party chief Nawaz Sharif preferred Dar, a close relative, to more senior senators for the top slot.
The move has prompted deep unrest among influential party groups, who believe that the Sharifs want to keep all major seats within the family to promote the politics of dynasty. Party giants grumbled that Raja Zafarul Haq, Mushahid Ullah Khan and Syed Zafar Ali Shah were the potential candidates but Dar was named instead for the top job in the Upper House of parliament after Senator Waseem Sajjad switched to the treasury benches along with his party, the PML-Quaid (PML-Q). A senior PML-N leader told Pakistan Today that nobody could challenge Nawaz’s decision, but it was causing a build-up of uneasiness that could soon explode into open rebellion, leading to the party’s disintegration sooner or later.
He said Dar was the most “blessed” person in the party because of his family ties with the Sharifs. “He is parliamentary leader of the Senate from 2006 to 2012. He worked as chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production. He also worked as deputy chairman of the Implementation Commission but resigned on April 20, 2011. He is also a member of the National Economic Council of Pakistan, Parliamentary Committee on Judges’ Appointment, Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms, Senate Finance Committee, Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs and Statistics, Senate standing Committee on Investment and Privatisation, Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, Legislative Development Steering Committee (LDSC) and Board of Governors, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS),” he added.
As far as political slots went, another disgruntled leader said Dar remained president of PML-N International Affairs. In the past, he had been finance minister and economic affairs and statistics minister in the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s cabinet, he said. Dar also served as the commerce and finance minister in Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet in 1997-1999, he added. The PML-N stalwart said Dar was just a chartered accountant and looked after the finances of the Sharifs. In comparison to senior leaders, Dar’s political acumen was average but he was given preference in every matter, he added. “Family politics do not stop with this. Almost all influential slots are in the hands of the Sharif family,” he added. “Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz, remained party president for so long. Shahbaz was always crowned chief minister of Punjab as well. Recently, Capt (r) Safdar, son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif, has been made chief organiser [of the party’s] youth wing.”
He said that National Assembly Member (MNA) Hamza Shahbaz, son of Shahbaz Sharif, had assumed the charge of Lahore coordinator for the party. “He is also responsible for the affairs of Chief Minister’s Secretariat as the party considers him the successor to Nawaz Sharif. He goes through the official files and has authority to approve or deny the works requested by even senior party leaders,” the PML-N leader said. He said that MNA Abid Sher Ali, whose mother was first cousin to Nawaz, was chairman of the Standing Committee on Education and a member of the Standing Committee on Privatisation and Investment, Standing Committee on Water and Power and Standing Committee on Youth Affairs.
“MNA Bilal Yaseen, another close relative of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, worked as chairman of the Water and Sanitation Authority. Provincial Assembly Member (MPA) Mohsin Latif, who has family terms with the Sharifs, worked as chairman of the Task Force on Parks and Horticulture. MPA Sohail Zia Butt, whose mother is first cousin to Nawaz, has great say in the party,” he added. A party insider also told Pakistan Today that grouping within the party was already spreading its tentacles because of the Sharifs’ politics.

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