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Need a boost, PML-N? They’ll never admit it – by Shafiq Awan

The telltale between British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif over the latter’s U-turn on constitutional reforms made Nawaz blush.

Reportedly, Nawaz Sharif demanded assurance from the foreign guarantor that his political survival would not be threatened after pending cases against him were opened or through any other means if he supported the 18th Amendment, as decided by the reforms committee, revealed a reliable source inside the Sharif’s “walled city” of Jati Umra.

The source said Nawaz was assured by the guarantor that they wanted to see his role in Pakistani politics and will not favour any move or pressure to keep him away from the political arena. The modus operandi of this assurance is still unknown, including the fact that how anyone can guarantee the settlement of pending cases. Legal experts are of the view that the cases against Nawaz Sharif have enough potential to put him in hot waters.

His party’s top brass claims that every thing would be settled very soon and the constitutional package would be brought in parliament soon.

Although Nawaz Sharif refused to discuss the deadlock on constitutional reforms with David Miliband but Senator Pervez Rashid denied it on a private TV channel.

Nawaz is under tremendous pressure from his party and other democratic forces sitting over the fence for deceiving the committee’s proposals. However, his party workers claimed that if Nawaz went by the book, his political survival might be threatened by certain quarters, but they sounded satisfied after talking to Miliband.

To a question on Nawaz’s stance of not accepting foreign dictation, the leaguer defended him by saying the meeting was to seek “advice” and not dictation.

Political circles are criticising Nawaz Sharif for leaving democracy in shambles through his recent U-turn over constitutional reforms and jeopardising parliament. They questioned who is the real threat to democracy: President Asif Ali Zardari or Nawaz Sharif?

Some sensible leaguers are still trying to repair the damage but their leader’s testimony to his stance on the second day embarrassed them.

The leaguers failed to defend Nawaz Sharif’s anti-democracy and pro-establishment stance. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi is especially in real trouble, as being a true democrat he spoke against Nawaz Sharif’s volte-face and could not hear a single word in his favour at the party’s meeting in Islamabad. In fact, the gulf between him and the party’s top brass has further deepened.

Even someone like Ahsan Iqbal aggravated the confusion through his influential speeches. People like him pleaded mercy for Nawaz Sharif, just like a killer who kills his parents and demands to be called an orphan.

In the reforms committee meeting, the PML-N nominees were embarrassed when everyone welcomed them with mocking smiles. They tried to explain about Nawaz Sharif’s U-turn but the committee members rejected their plea.

Even Ishaq Dar was morally in a fix over how to defend Nawaz’s blunder, as the sudden change of mind could not convince any member, including him.

However, they have come out of the trauma now and the PML-N has planned to attack the PPP leadership to sideline the constitutional reforms’ issue.

Law Minister Babar Awan was the first one to be “attacked”, though he deserves it as his own party alleged him of sabotaging the reforms committee’s efforts since he was not authorised to announce the schedule of the joint parliamentary session and tabling the 18th Amendment. In the next few days, the PML-N will launch a campaign against the alleged corruption of the PPP’s federal ministers.

It is pertinent to mention here that Daily Times was the first newspaper to report Nawaz Sharif’s U-turn from the reforms package following a mysterious phone call and an equally mysterious guest. Although Nawaz Sharif denied it in his press conference but I stand by my words. The phone number and the guest could not be mentioned considering professional ethics.

Source: Daily Times

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  • The formula suggested by the constitutional reforms committee for appointment of judges was a good one and there was nothing wrong with it. The delaying tactics by PML-N was a conspiracy against provincial autonomy. This is a sabotage against the provincial autonomy as some parties as well as some quarters did not want to abolish the concurrent list. We would have to take this issue seriously. PML-N could not digest the historic achievement of the abolishment of the concurrent list and the assurance of provincial autonomy. Maligning the Law Minister has no rationale and we would have to focus on the institutions. The Constitution is not for a short term and rather there would be some other individuals in future at the helm of affairs. So, one has to rise above personal issues. I am surprised by the stance Nawaz Sharif has adopted to delay the process of constitutional reforms and over his decision to link 17th amendment with the appointment of judges.