LAHORE : Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has convened an important meeting of veteran Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders in Islamabad on Monday (today) According to PML-N’s chairman Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, the meeting would be attended by senior party leaders and presided over by the former prime minister himself. He said that the meeting would discuss the current domestic political situation.
Senator Asif Kirmani said that some party leaders wanted to meet Nawaz Sharif and that was why the meeting had been called in Islamabad. He said that the venue was selected personally by Nawaz Sharif.
According to sources, the meeting was being held in an attempt to dispel rumours of a rift in the party’s hierarchy. They said that it was important to address concerns of key party leaders while seeking their input on party position. They said that it was crucial to dismiss all such rumours, adding that it was also important to get feedback from key party leaders. Nawaz Sharif is expected to stay in Islamabad till the next court hearing.
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The meeting’s agenda, sources said, included census, delimitation of constituencies and the 2018 general elections.
The meeting will be attended, among others, by PML-N’s chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, federal minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pervez Rashid, Mushahidullah Khan, Asif Kirmani, former interior minister Chaurdary Nisar Ali Khan, law minister Punjab Rana Sanaullah.
This, sources said, would be the first formal party meeting after the rumours emerged about a possible rift in the party ranks. They said that the main purpose of the meeting is to give an impression that party leaders were unified behind its leadership.
Source further maintained that Nawaz and Shehbaz might have different approaches, but it did not mean that they opposed each other. They said that these differences were there even when they were exiled. The presence of Nawaz and Shehbaz at the meeting would quash all rumours.
After attending court proceedings, they said, a decision would be taken about another brief visit by Nawaz Sharif to London, depending on the health of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz. They said that the decision regarding delaying the political gathering in Abottabad on November 12, as earlier reported by The Express Tribune, had been confirmed. He said Nawaz Sharif had recommended to hold the political gathering in the first week of December but he suggested organizing another gathering elsewhere in the last 10 days of November.
Another senior leader said that reports regarding the rift were being floated from within the party ranks, adding that hopes of such such elements would never materialise. He said that the party was united behind Nawaz Sharif and even Shehbaz Sharif was aware of this fact. He said that political differences between the two were being mistaken as an unbridgeable divide.
The office of the Chief Minister Punjab, however, refused to confirm or deny the CM’s expected visit to Islamabad.