Maryam Nawaz’s rise in PML-N ranks 'upsets' party leaders

Only Sharif family members considered for key party/government roles, says a senior PML-N leader

Ansar Abbasi
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, PM Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, and others hold presser. — APP
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, PM Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, and others hold presser. — APP
  • Party leaders lament lack of consultation before decision.
  • A senior leader says only Sharifs get key party/govt roles.
  • Says decision aimed at perpetuating Sharifs' political dynasty.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s "undemocratic" promotion to the office of senior vice-president and chief organiser of the party did not go down well with the senior stalwarts, sources informed The News.

The appointment makes Maryam the third most powerful figure in the party after her father, Nawaz Sharif, and her uncle Shehbaz Sharif, who is the sitting prime minister.

According to sources, a number of senior second-tier PML-N leaders are upset with the appointment, terming lack of consultation as one of the main reasons kicking up discontent over the elevation.

A senior PML-N leader told The News, on condition of anonymity, that "this decision is undemocratic and is aimed at furthering the Sharifs’ political dynasty". He revealed that hardly any senior leader outside the Sharif family was consulted before making the decision.

Senior PML-N leaders such as Khawaja Asif, Tanvir Hussain, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Raja Zafarul Haq, are now under Maryam in the party hierarchy. Before the decision, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the only senior vice president of the party, with over a dozen vice presidents, including Maryam.

Another party leader, who spoke to The News on the condition of anonymity, bemoaned the decision saying: “Only the Sharif family or those close to them have the first right to hold every key party or government position”.

Moreover, Hamza Shehbaz, PM Shehbaz's elder son and currently the opposition leader in Punjab, was chosen as Chief Minister of Punjab last year with his father in the Prime Minister’s House.

Sources say that many in the party think the likes of Khawaja Saad Rafique and Malik Ahmad Khan would have been much better choices as Punjab CM, but the Sharif family chose Hamza, who could last as CM only for a few months.

Another close relative of the Sharif family who wields influence in the party is Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. He is also the President of PML-N’s overseas chapter.

On the other hand, Nawaz’s son-in-law and Maryam’s husband, Capt (R) Safdar, is the President of PML-N’s Youth Wing.

According to a PML-N leader, Maryam's son Junaid Safdar is also being propagated by the party’s social media team as the future of the N-League. However, Junaid has not yet joined politics.

A party source said that the senior PML-N leadership outside the Sharif family would even be subordinate to Junaid when he enters politics, adding that democracy had taken a backseat as far as PML-N’s internal politics was concerned.