No change in Nawaz’s travel plan: PML-N leaders


LAHORE: As the PML-N remains tight lipped about the reasons behind Shehbaz Sharif’s hurried departure to London shortly after landing back in Pakistan that gave way to rumours regarding a possible change in travel plans of Nawaz Sharif, leaders in Lahore claimed that though they do not know why a meeting was reconvened but claimed that there is no change in any plan and that the preparation to welcome their leader on Oct 21 is under way.

Party President Shehbaz returning to London to meet his brother Nawaz within 48 hours of his return to Pakistan has raised many eyebrows even within his own party, as many question if this trip has anything to do with a possible change of plans.

One such leader, an MNA from Punjab said that they too were hearing speculation that Shehbaz left to deliver a message of the powers that be to change his plan, though he clarified that they have not been communicated anything.

Another leader speculated that the party’s legal plan with reference to possibility of relief from the court in the backdrop of the new chief justice at the helm, and the establishment’s willingness to extend an olive branch in this regard are the only issues urgent enough to requisite such a meeting.

One reason behind the meeting was rumoured to be former party leaders forming a new party.

This rumour was, however, laid to rest by former PML-N leader and former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who said that he was in fact joining a media house and not any party.

Former PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, in a written reply to Daily City News, however, said that he in fact was trying to convince Abbasi, Miftah Ismail and others to consider forming a new party as “politics of today has lost its purpose and that politicians and political parties are least concerned with issues of the masses”.

Former federal minister Javeed Latif had reportedly said that Nawaz had called Shehbaz back to London and that there were some meetings wherein Shehbaz’s presence was a must. He said that Maryam Nawaz Sharif flew to London as per announced schedule.

He also clarified that there was no change in the plan for Nawaz’s return on Oct 21. He said that the PML-N would win with two-thirds majority.

PML-N Deputy Secretary General Ataullah Tarar said that as Maryam was going to London and given that the ECP had announced an election plan, a meeting in person was necessary.

He said that there are a few things that cannot be discussed over the phone.

To a question about the change in the party’s narrative, he said that Nawaz had been critical about the role of those who have devastated the country.

To another question that wasn’t former COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa the same person his party president praised on multiple occasions, Tarar said that it was yet to be seen what line the party tows going forward, as “our narrative has always been development first”.

On the legal strategy regarding Nawaz, as the existing party plan to welcome their leader at Minar-i-Pakistan chiefly relies on a free pass by the government and judiciary, Tarar said he is not at liberty to divulge their legal strategy, saying that they will try their best to ensure a bail for Nawaz.

The PML-N went for vituperating against the establishment in 2021 to extensively praising the same military heads after assuming power, and now with elections around the corner, Nawaz again launching a tirade against those former heads was a complete and a baffling about-turn.

The PML-N’s narratives are usually telltale of their ties with the establishment and if this was indeed the case, then it seems that Nawaz was flexing his muscle.

Even well-placed party leaders have expressed their apprehensions over this recent change in line and length, but hoped that it would not dent any party plans.

Former MNA from Lahore Waheed Alam said that they did not know why the former premier had left for London, but said that something urgent must have arisen.

He said that they had a meeting on Thursday and the plan of Oct 21 was very much intact.

Former MNA Dr Nisar Cheema too clarified that there was no change in plans, saying that they were clueless about the reasons for the meeting.

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