PML-N likely to stay away from disgruntled PTI lawmakers: report

Noor Aftab
(L-R) PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Maryam Nawaaz, and party president Shehbaz Sharif.
  • PML-N leader says PTI lawmakers are waiting for a signal from some quarters to decide future course of action.
  • According to the PML-N supremo, Jahangir Khan Tareen is not a free man.
  • Chaudhry Nisar holds meeting with two Lahore-based PML-N leaders seeking support for a change in Punjab.

ISLAMABAD: Amid differences within the ruling PTI over cases against Jahangir Khan Tareen, the PML-N is likely to stay away from estranged lawmakers of the ruling party, The News reported, quoting unnamed sources.

While requesting anonymity, a senior PML-N leader shared that “we have an understanding that the rebel group of PTI’s lawmakers is still waiting for a signal from some side to decide about their future course of action.”

“These people are in a fix whether they should go against the PTI government or continue to back it because they know they are not supposed to decide it on their own,” he said.

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Almost 30 PTI MNAs and MPAs have openly supported Tareen, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan to do justice with him.

They are holding meetings with Tareen at his residence and attending court hearings along with the former PTI secretary-general.

The opposition leader said: “If they go against the PTI government then we have a clear-cut policy that we will not become part of any political change whether in the Centre or in the Punjab province with the help of those lawmakers who are believed to be backed by the powerful quarters.”

PPP’s Punjab formula

The PML-N sources, according to The News, said that It is an open secret that the PPP wanted a change in Punjab with the help of PML-N, PML-Q and disgruntled members of the ruling PTI, adding: “The message of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was very ‘loud and clear’ that his party would never ever support any political change that would be engineered by the ‘non-democratic’ forces.”

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They said when Nawaz and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz refused to support the PPP-devised ‘Punjab formula’, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto directly held a meeting with PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail.

“Bilawal Bhutto was given permission to meet Shahbaz Sharif on a short notice and gates of Kot Lakhpat jail were opened for him. Even members of the PML-N are not given any such treatment when they seek permission to have a meeting with Shahbaz Sharif,” the sources said.

Chaudhry Nisar meets PML-N leaders

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, they claimed, also held a meeting with two Lahore-based PML-N senior members, but all these efforts proved futile because Nawaz was not ready to change his stance over the role of ‘powerful quarters’ in the political field.

‘Jahangir Tareen not a free man’

Another senior PML-N member said Nawaz believes Tareen is not a “free man” and he cannot take political decisions at his “own will”.

When asked to explain, he said: “The PML-N believes that Jahangir Khan Tareen and all lawmakers of his like-minded group are loyal to the ‘powerful quarters’ and they don’t take political decisions at their own.”

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“So we cannot join hands with Jahangir Khan Tareen or his supporters who are backed by some other forces. We will not become part of any change that will be backed by ‘non-democratic’ forces,” he said.

Sources privy to the latest developments in the ranks of PML-N said Nawaz enhanced his contacts with senior party members as he chaired a number of party meetings in the last few weeks.

PPP response

PPP spokesperson Shazia Marri told The News: “We got numerical strength in the Senate election for Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and we can do it also in the Punjab province. PPP wants to move no-confidence motions against the Punjab government and the federal governments but it needs support from other opposition parties.”

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan's personal secretary was contacted and sent a couple of questions regarding efforts to bring change in the Punjab province. But no answer was given to those questions.

Similarly, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb did not attend her calls or reply to text messages.