'Nawaz wasn't ready to become PM for fourth term': Siddiqui

Senator hints at possibility of Nawaz leading PML-N as president once again

Web Desk
April 18, 2024

Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Senator Irfan Siddiqui has said that party supremo and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif "wasn't ready" to become the country's premier for a fourth time as he has no intention of securing the top post this time.

"It was Nawaz's own decision to not become the prime minister," Siddiqui said while speaking on Geo News' programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath on Wednesday.

His remarks come after PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif became the country's prime minister for the second time following the party's nomination after Nawaz decided against running for the coveted post after returning to the country following a four-year self-imposed exile from London.

The party, which had longed for the veteran politician's return, had formulated its election campaign around the politico pitching him as a saviour who could address the country's prevailing crises and lead it towards prosperity.

However, following the February 8 polls, which saw major political parties including the PML-N, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-backed independent candidates and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) failing to secure a simple majority in the National Assembly, the PML-N nominated Shehbaz as its prime ministerial candidate.

The move, it seemed, reflected Nawaz's reluctance to lead a weak coalition government which can at least be termed as a rather uphill task in light of the prevailing economic crises that have gripped the country for some time.

The development had received mixed reactions from various circles with some opining that the veteran politician's career was "over".

Countering this narrative, Siddiqui revealed that Nawaz still gives his input on various matters including but not limited to the federal cabinet, economic recovery and others.

Speaking to Geo News, the senator revealed that there was a section within the PML-N that believed that needed a full-time president and therefore, he added, there lies a possibility that Nawaz would once again secure the party's top post.

There was an opinion in the party that political posts should be separated from government ones. Whoever has a ministry is paying attention to it, and the party is being ignored, he said.

Highlighting that Shehbaz does not have enough time to run the party as he is occupied with fulfilling his responsibilities as PM for the country's economic recovery, Siddiqui said that the decision with regards to the party's presidency would be made in a few months.

Lamenting the dire economic circumstances when the PML-N-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government came into power, the politician lauded Shehbaz for saving the country from defaulting amid grim economic indicators.