–Party may shelve process due to ‘deep differences’ among top ranks of all chapters
–Sources say Maryam Nawaz wants to appoint her aides, remove Shehbaz’s through reorganisation
–Raja Zafarul Haq says grievances of party leaders need to be redressed
ISLAMABAD: The reorganisation process of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has hit major impediments as the party leaders of three provinces have refused to accept the “imposition of blue-eyed” persons in the name of reforms, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As per the details, former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had tasked party leader Ahsan Iqbal to complete the party’s reorganisation in all four provinces and two federating units – Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) – by November 25.
However, not only did Iqbal fail to fulfil the task, but his mismanagement also led to a rebellion by senior party leaders following the reorganisation in Balochistan, sources said.
“Reorganisation of the party was a brainchild of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who wanted to install members of her own group while sidelining the Shehbaz Sharif group,” they said, adding that as PML-N President Shehbaz is behind bars, a campaign to replace his aides from top offices is continuing within the party.
If the differences that have surfaced amid the reorganisation attempts are not settled, the party leadership may have to shelve the idea, sources said.
A party leader, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that not only was the idea “ill-timed”, but the process adopted was “foolish” enough to not be accepted by most of the party leaders.
“It is time to build pressure on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government but Mian Sahab has advised to reorganise the PML-N,” they said, adding that it was a bad idea for the time being as it would create further fissures within the party.
“All those leaders who are not given offices would either leave the party or will rebel against its central leadership,” the senior Leaguer said.
They added that the rebellion by the leadership in Balochistan had exposed the fault lines in the party as all the top leaders of the province had rejected the “false and phoney election” of Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Jamal Shah Kakar as party’s Balochistan president and general secretary, respectively.
The senior Leaguer further said the rebel group has alleged that the party’s constitution was “violated” by Gen (r) Qadir, who held the elections “secretly” and without informing other party leaders.
“No party leader was involved in the formation of the election commission for intra-party polls whereas Sardar Yaqoob Nasser and Changez Marri wanted to contest for the slot of the president but they were not even informed about the elections,” they added.
The disgruntled leaders have now decided to challenge the party polls in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), sources said.
Another party leader said a similar situation was prevailing with the party’s reorganisation process in Sindh, where Urdu speaking leaders from Karachi had refused to work under the recently-appointed president, Shah Mohammad Shah.
“The Maryam Nawaz group, led by former governor Zubair Umar and Miftah Ismail, has refused to work under Sindhi speaking Shah Mohammad Shah. They have also gathered the support of party’s senior leaders like Senator Mushahidullah Khan,” they said and added that the rebellion was not purely on an ethnic basis and was rather being considered as a clash between the Maryam and Shehbaz groups.
Sources said that due to the deep down differences, Ahsan Iqbal, for now, had been forced to shelve the idea to go for elections or nominations in the Sindh chapter of the party.
It was further learnt that such differences had also forced the party leadership to shelve elections or nominations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). A senior Leaguer said that in the KP chapter of the party, leaders Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi and Pir Sabir Shah had refused to accept a “novice” like Amir Muqam.
“They [party leaders] normally call him [Amir] an agent of military dictator Pervez Musharraf. Although Amir has gathered decent support among the party’s top ranks, the KP chapter is still not ready to accept him as the party chief,” the PML-N leader said.
When asked about the reorganisation in the Punjab chapter of PML-N, the leader said that Hamza Shehbaz was leading the party in Punjab, however, party loyalists had not yet accepted him.
“I believe party leaders also stand divided on Hamza Shehbaz. PML-N’s core group in Punjab aligns itself with Maryam [Nawaz] and it feels uncomfortable under Hamzas’ leadership,” they said.
Pakistan Today reached out to PML-N stalwart Ahsan Iqbal and spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, but both refused to comment on the party’s alleged failure to meet the deadline for reorganisation.
Senator Raja Mohammad Zafarul Haq, on the other hand, said that Iqbal was working in this regard and expressed the hope that differences among party leaders would be bridged.