Nawaz Sharif to be elected PML-N president after six years today

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is to be elected president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party named after him, once again after more than six years on Tuesday (today).

Sources from the party said Nawaz would be elected through an election for the party president which has been rescheduled from the second week of May to May 28, the day celebrated as Youm-e-Takbir. On this day in 1998, Pakistan had responded to India’s nuclear tests while Nawaz was prime minister.

On July 28, 2017, Nawaz lost both the prime minister’s office and the presidency of his party as a result of the Panama Papers ruling. Ever since, the PML-N has constructed a narrative centred around the catchphrase “Mujhy Kyun Nikala” (Why was I removed?).

At a news conference on Monday, PML-N Chief Election Commissioner Rana Sanaullah stated that the party leaders had the consensus that Nawaz should lead the party. He said that Shehbaz had resigned from his position as party president, but he was still permitted by the Central Working Committee to carry out his responsibilities until the election of a new leader.

As per the party constitution, the election commission was appointed by the Central Working Committee and the commission issued the election timetable, said Sanaullah.

Today’s timing for accepting nomination papers are from 10am to 12pm; they will be examined at 1pm, and the final list will be ready by 3pm. Any party member may submit nomination papers. Then, the PML-N central council meeting will be held at 4pm.

Sanaullah said each party had its own election procedures such as nomination papers were not submitted in Jamaat-e-Islami, where the Shura elected the ameer. He underlined that he was not against Jamaat-e-Islami’s approach.

He highlighted Pakistan’s success in becoming a nuclear power under Nawaz’s leadership, as well as his role in turning the PML-N into a party for the average man. Nawaz had always been involved in major party decisions and would remain so, he underlined.

He said that other party positions should be filled by different members and that Shehbaz remained a significant leader, especially noted for his efforts in restoring the economy. He mentioned that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi could also submit his candidature documents, which would be scrutinised for eligibility.

Sanaullah asserted that the PML-N was a party of dialogue and emphasised the importance of cooperation between the government and the opposition. He also expressed his hope that PTI’s founder avoided a fate similar to that of Mujeebur Rahman and stressed the need for dialogue.

He reassured that Nawaz Sharif was not angry with anyone and remained fully active. Fundamental decisions in the federal and Punjab governments involved Nawaz’s consultation and approval. Nawaz’s statements were expected to become more frequent over the time.

It is pertinent to note that if no other candidate submits nomination papers, Nawaz will be elected unopposed; otherwise, the election will be decided by a show of hands.

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