Thursday Sep 16, 2021
LAHORE: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Thursday urged party workers to pay no mind to "propaganda by the enemy", saying that PML-N Supremo Nawaz Sharif and and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif "are one".
"This is a democratic party. Differences in opinion may exist. This does not mean that one raises questions pertaining to party leadership," she said, addressing a gathering of workers belonging to the party's Bahawalpur division.
"When it comes to the party leadership, everyone agrees with Nawaz Sharif as well as Shahbaz Sharif," she said.
The gathering was attended by party secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal and senior members Rana Sanaullah and Khurram Dastgir.
Iqbal called upon the party to complete its current organisational objectives within 30 days. "Preparations for the election will help us prevent rigging in the future," he said.
Sanaullah said that the government is "trying to drown out the voices of its political opponents".
"We will not back down now and do not fear this fake accountability drive," he said.
The PML-N stalwart said that cases that were made on "political grounds", set back the country.
Dastgir said that the time has come for the party to strengthen itself from within and called upon all office holders of the party to play their roles for the purpose.
Rana Tanveer Hussain noted that it is the leaders' "duty to strengthen and save the party".
"This country can no longer be run by this fascist government," he added.
Riaz Peerzada recalled that when Nawaz Sharif became Punjab's chief minister in 1985, his first tour was that of Bahawalpur. He expressed the wish that this occur again when the party supremo returns to Pakistan.
Maryam's remarks come amid speculation by the media and government representatives in recent months over a perceived difference in the two brothers' approaches, characterised by Minister for Interior Shaikh Rasheed as Noon League (named after Nawaz Sharif) separating from a supposed Sheen League (named after Shahbaz Sharif).
However, ahead of a meeting of the Opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance in August, the two brothers appeared to be on the same page, agreeing in talks to inject new vigour into the movement and to ramp up efforts to oust the government.
Shahbaz had earlier that month categorically rejected speculation that he was about to resign from the party's presidency, describing it as "fake news".
A report in Daily Jang had stated that the former Punjab chief minister was unhappy over the party's dismal performance in the recently-concluded Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections after his election strategy was allegedly ignored by the party leadership.
He refuted the report while speaking to Geo News anchor Saleem Safi on his show "Jirga".
"When I was finally allowed to speak during the budget session, after four days of chaos [in the Parliament], I said the budget is a fake one since the people's pockets are empty.
"Just like the budget, this news report is also fake," he said.
Shahbaz also rejected the impression that he had been sidelined, adding that "the PML-N is like our house, and Nawaz Sharif, every party leader, worker and women [leaders] over the past 40 years have played their role in building it".
Earlier, in May, as reports of the gulf in the PML-N leadership widening emerged, with the two separate groups appeaing to support opposing stances when it came to matters concerning leadership and other political issues, Maryam categorically denied there were any "two camps" in the party.
She said that she stands with her uncle, Shahbaz, as well as her father, Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, Former Federal Minister for Capital Administration and Development of Pakistan and PML-N leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said during during Geo News'programme "Capital Talk" that Maryam plays centre-forward and Shahbaz is the goalkeeper of the party.
Chaudhry said every political party plays like a team — a football or a hockey team — and each team has players who have different roles.
The anchor, Muneeb Farooq, was questioning Chaudhry about the "differences" among the party's top-brass and pointed out that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the party's vice-president, Maryam Nawaz, stressed "adventurous" politics. On the other hand, he said, the party's president, Shahbaz Sharif, relies on "resistance."
"Maryam Nawaz is the party's centre-forward, who is in the attacking position, while Shahbaz is the player who plays on the backfoot — the goalkeeper," Chaudhry said in response.
Aside from the media commenting on perceived differences, Opposition members, such as PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, have also raised questions as to who is steering the PML-N ship.
Recently, during a public gathering in Multan, he remarked that whenever Shahbaz makes a statement, party members distance themselves to say it was his "personal decision".
Shahbaz Sharif is the party president, his decision should be final," he remarked.