Nawaz to return to PML-N throne after 9 long years | Pakistan Today

Nawaz to return to PML-N throne after 9 long years

Finally, after 9 years, Nawaz Sharif is set to become the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the top spot in the party’s internal administration that was snatched from him under the Political Parties Order (PPO) of 2002 promulgated by former president Pervez Musharraf.
Nawaz was forced to become the party’s “quaid” (chief), an informal office with no legal value, in August 2002, but is not set to be crowned president again in 2011 ahead of inflammable preparations for general elections Nawaz will be reinstated as party president, unopposed, in the party’s central elections scheduled for July 27, even though many differences have cropped up regarding the nominations/elections of district presidents and secretaries general.
PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid, who is a close aide of Nawaz Sharif’s, told Pakistan Today that the stage was set to elect Nawaz president of the party on July 27.
“This is the slot Nawaz deserves to have but Musharraf deprived him of the position through an unjust law, and now the time has come to return to Nawaz what was taken from him,” he said.
Nawaz was in exile when the PPO 2002 was issued. The order stated that those who had been convicted by a court of law could not head a political party.
Nawaz was then convicted by a court of law. The Supreme Court banned him from holding public office based on a criminal record dating back to the late 1990s and also sentenced him to 21 years in prison on charges of hijacking and treason after it was proven that he refused to let an airplane carrying Musharraf and 200 other passengers land in Pakistan.
On the basis of the sentence, Musharraf promulgated the PPO 2002 and barred Nawaz and other heads of political parties to hold the top office. In the bleak political environment, PML-N held intra-party elections on August 8, 2002, in which Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s younger brother, was unanimously elected president. The decision was taken to avoid the party’s disqualification under PPO 2002. “Shahbaz’s election ended the nine-year reign of his elder brother Nawaz, who under the patronage of former military dictator General Ziaul Haq had created a breakaway faction of the PML in 1988 to challenge the authority of late prime minister Mohammad Khan Junejo. He took control of the entire PML in 1993,” a senior PML-N leader said. Though Nawaz returned to Pakistan in 2007 ahead of the elections, he neither vied for nor decided to hold the office of the president of the party.
According to political analysts, aside from other legal restrictions, the major hurdle was the deal backed by Saudi royals that forbade the PML-N chief to formally take part in politics for 10 years starting in 2000, which is no longer binding. Later, the court acquitted Nawaz from charges of hijacking in July 2009, paving the way for him to hold a public office. After the Supreme Court overturned the ban on Nawaz to run for political office, the Election Commission of Pakistan also allowed him to hold the party’s top office in the same year.

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