Original Articles

Mian Sahab, we’ll worry about the PPP, you take care of your N in the PML

Scratch harder...
The Pakistan Peoples Party is always under attack whenever we hear of some “leaders” dissenting from the line of the party. Our right wing media starts to call them the “real voice of the PPP” ignoring the fact that just before their dissenting voice, they were the same Jiyalas or part of a “Zardari Tola” as per their terminology. We have seen Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Safdar Abbasi, Naheed Khan, Sherry Rehman, Syed Iqbal Haider, Aitzaz Ahsan, Israr Shah (he lost his legs during a suicide attack in Islamabad and then was not made a senator) being heralded as heroes and then being interviewed by the media to increase the gulf between them and the party. The line they take is “Yeh party ab Bhutto aur Benazir wali party nahee rahee. Iss par qabza group haawi hay”.
On the other hand, PML-N is considered as a united party, being the real opposition and fighting for the rights of people of Pakistan. They are shown to be united under their quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif ably supported by (the many times Mian) Shahbaz Sharif, HBL’s model in ad campaign Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Pervaiz Rasheed and many more. They are touted as the real leadership of Pakistan ready to lead the nation again. No one asks them that despite of all their power, why they keep losing bye-elections in their controlled province of Punjab. Recently, Farooq Leghari’s seat was won by his son Owais Leghari beating the PML-N Candidate by more than 20,000 votes. Not many talk about the fact that for the last 20 months, the PML-N doesn’t have an organization structure, being managed by various power houses within the party. They play the role of the devil’s advocate and the devil itself. The recent Raymond Davis issue showed the nation the real face of the PML-N.
In today’s Dawn, a report on the back page has been published titled “Nawaz’s absence sharpens groupings in PML-N“. There are no two doubts that there are many groupings in the party, with both the brothers not seeing eye to eye on many issues or having different opinions. One brother wants Inqalab in Pakistan while the other brother says that he will not allow democracy to be derailed. On the other hand, Mr. Bean has a very aggressive, hawkish posture on everything. On one hand when the media is trying its best to bring PML-N and MQM together, Chaudhry Nisar begins an unnecessary fight with the targeted allies.
Similarly, Ishaq Dar heads committees to deal with the government on the “agenda” of the PML-N, while other hawks in the party say that it’s not worth discussing with the government.
It seems that the real divided party is the PML-N. Mian Sahab, we hope and pray that you get well. It would be unfortunate to see a “promising” political party like yours being divided into many many groups.
by Khawar Ghumman
Dawn, April 1, 2011
ISLAMABAD, March 31: Even a brief absence of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif from the country for health reasons has sharpened groupings within the country’s largest opposition party now being run without a formal organisational structure, according to party sources.
The PML-N leader, who left for London in early March, is currently nursing his heart ailments there, and there is no word yet when he is to return home, where the groups in the high party echelons have often been pulling in different directions.
In background discussions, some PMLN lawmakers have expressed serious concerns over the ongoing shenanigans within the party which they said could hurt the party’s image in the next elections if not checked by its leadership.
Some of these legislators question the moves by some leaders to keep alive the controversy over the release of a US spy agency operative, Raymond Davis, after the payment of a huge blood money to the heirs of two young men he had shot dead on a Lahore street.
“Can you believe that at a time when the issue of Raymond Davis has almost died down, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, persuaded by his close confidants, addressed a press conference, protesting his government’s innocence in the whole affair, which made no sense,” said one lawmaker while talking to Dawn, requesting anonymity.
“Any Pakistani with a common sense knows why the American has been allowed to go back unpunished,” he said.
The lawmaker was referring to the chief minister’s challenge at the news conference in Lahore on his return from London that he would resign his office if somebody could prove his government’s involvement in Davis’s release. “It was more of a self-humiliation, that too for nothing,” he said.
Senator Ishaq Dar, a close relative of Mr Nawaz Sharif, and Senator Pervez Rashid, who acts as spokesman for the Punjab government, make the most powerful group within the party, according to the party sources who said decision-making at the top level largely stemmed from the perception by these two men.
There have been occasions, the source said, when the two senators challenged majority of the party’s senior leaders.
They said Mr Rashid was keenly looking for a senior position in the PML-N whose reorganisation, which has been in the works for about 20 months, was expected to be completed after Mr Nawaz Sharif’s return home.
Another group, led by Mr Shahbaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, is seen equally forceful.
Both Mr Khan and the junior Sharif are known in the party rank and file for their friendship and as men who don’t listen to anybody when it comes to running the Punjab government’s administrative affairs and the party in the province.
As another PML-N lawmaker observed, the powerful duo always toe each other’s lines and “you would hardly see them challenging each other within the party meetings”.
Zulfiqar Ahmad Khosa and his son Dost Mohammad Khosa, who served as a stopgap chief minister of Punjab for some time before Shahbaz Sharif was elected to the provincial assembly, run the show in managing the party and government in southern Punjab, where no government official in and around D.G. Khan could think of getting posting without their approval, the sources said.
Within the Punjab Assembly, they said, the father and son are not liked by a majority of the PML-N’s legislators belonging to central and northern parts of the province.
Then there is a continuous tug of war in Faisalabad region, between Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and the youthful and vocal chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali, who is also a relative of the Sharif family. More than once, Shahbaz Sharif had to intervene to bring the two rivals to talking terms, but they continue to have face-offs.
As if all this muscle-flexing were not enough, Dr Asif Kirmani, a personal secretary to Nawaz Sharif, could be heard directing and subduing elected members of the party. “He acts like the most important office-bearers within the party and nobody could dare to challenge him due to his proximity with the party chief,” said an insider.
Then the sidelining of senior figures like Javed Hashmi, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq and former general secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra is an open secret. Mr Hashmi, who led the party when Pervez Musharraf sent the Sharif brothers to exile in Saudi Arabia and was later jailed on charges of trying to incite a mutiny against the military ruler, is hardly consulted on party matters.
Some party workers even think that Mr Hashmi suffered a stroke because of the stress resulting from his isolation.
Mr Ahsan Iqbal, a National Assembly member and party spokesman, would not deny factionalism, which he said was a natural consequence as the PML-N was a national political party. He said that unlike the MQM and PPP, the PML-N truly believed in democracy within the party where people could even rise right in the face of the party leadership and express their views.
This, he said, had been a common feature of meetings of party’s central executive committee.
“Yes, one can have homogeneity within smaller parties, but a national political party like ours will definitely have heterogeneous tendencies,” Mr Iqbal said, adding that in the presence of a solid and stable leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif, such frictions hardly mattered.
Announcing the dissolution of all party organisations at a workers’ convention at Bhurban in September 2009, the PMLN chief had directed the party members to complete the election process by March 23, 2010.
However, since then on one pretext or the other, the PML-N could not hold party elections and is being run without central and provincial office-bearers.

ISLAMABAD, March 31: Even a brief absence of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif from the country for health reasons has sharpened groupings within the country’s largest opposition party now being run without a formal organisational structure, according to party sources.The PML-N leader, who left for London in early March, is currently nursing his heart ailments there, and there is no word yet when he is to return home, where the groups in the high party echelons have often been pulling in different directions.
In background discussions, some PMLN lawmakers have expressed serious concerns over the ongoing shenanigans within the party which they said could hurt the party’s image in the next elections if not checked by its leadership.
Some of these legislators question the moves by some leaders to keep alive the controversy over the release of a US spy agency operative, Raymond Davis, after the payment of a huge blood money to the heirs of two young men he had shot dead on a Lahore street.
“Can you believe that at a time when the issue of Raymond Davis has almost died down, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, persuaded by his close confidants, addressed a press conference, protesting his government’s innocence in the whole affair, which made no sense,” said one lawmaker while talking to Dawn, requesting anonymity.
“Any Pakistani with a common sense knows why the American has been allowed to go back unpunished,” he said.
The lawmaker was referring to the chief minister’s challenge at the news conference in Lahore on his return from London that he would resign his office if somebody could prove his government’s involvement in Davis’s release. “It was more of a self-humiliation, that too for nothing,” he said.
Senator Ishaq Dar, a close relative of Mr Nawaz Sharif, and Senator Pervez Rashid, who acts as spokesman for the Punjab government, make the most powerful group within the party, according to the party sources who said decision-making at the top level largely stemmed from the perception by these two men.
There have been occasions, the source said, when the two senators challenged majority of the party’s senior leaders.
They said Mr Rashid was keenly looking for a senior position in the PML-N whose reorganisation, which has been in the works for about 20 months, was expected to be completed after Mr Nawaz Sharif’s return home.
Another group, led by Mr Shahbaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, is seen equally forceful.
Both Mr Khan and the junior Sharif are known in the party rank and file for their friendship and as men who don’t listen to anybody when it comes to running the Punjab government’s administrative affairs and the party in the province.
As another PML-N lawmaker observed, the powerful duo always toe each other’s lines and “you would hardly see them challenging each other within the party meetings”.
Zulfiqar Ahmad Khosa and his son Dost Mohammad Khosa, who served as a stopgap chief minister of Punjab for some time before Shahbaz Sharif was elected to the provincial assembly, run the show in managing the party and government in southern Punjab, where no government official in and around D.G. Khan could think of getting posting without their approval, the sources said.
Within the Punjab Assembly, they said, the father and son are not liked by a majority of the PML-N’s legislators belonging to central and northern parts of the province.
Then there is a continuous tug of war in Faisalabad region, between Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and the youthful and vocal chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali, who is also a relative of the Sharif family. More than once, Shahbaz Sharif had to intervene to bring the two rivals to talking terms, but they continue to have face-offs.
As if all this muscle-flexing were not enough, Dr Asif Kirmani, a personal secretary to Nawaz Sharif, could be heard directing and subduing elected members of the party. “He acts like the most important office-bearers within the party and nobody could dare to challenge him due to his proximity with the party chief,” said an insider.
Then the sidelining of senior figures like Javed Hashmi, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq and former general secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra is an open secret. Mr Hashmi, who led the party when Pervez Musharraf sent the Sharif brothers to exile in Saudi Arabia and was later jailed on charges of trying to incite a mutiny against the military ruler, is hardly consulted on party matters.
Some party workers even think that Mr Hashmi suffered a stroke because of the stress resulting from his isolation.
Mr Ahsan Iqbal, a National Assembly member and party spokesman, would not deny factionalism, which he said was a natural consequence as the PML-N was a national political party. He said that unlike the MQM and PPP, the PML-N truly believed in democracy within the party where people could even rise right in the face of the party leadership and express their views.
This, he said, had been a common feature of meetings of party’s central executive committee.
“Yes, one can have homogeneity within smaller parties, but a national political party like ours will definitely have heterogeneous tendencies,” Mr Iqbal said, adding that in the presence of a solid and stable leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif, such frictions hardly mattered.
Announcing the dissolution of all party organisations at a workers’ convention at Bhurban in September 2009, the PMLN chief had directed the party members to complete the election process by March 23, 2010.
However, since then on one pretext or the other, the PML-N could not hold party elections and is being run without central and provincial office-bearers.