LAHORE - The PML-N leadership has decided not to succumb to the pressure from PTI and PAT for resignation of Nawaz Sharif and take the political parties which are its partners in the current political crisis into confidence on the statement of the prime minister made in the parliament regarding his meeting with the army chief to seek his role in resolving the crisis.
Sources in the party say that members of the top leadership of the party are in direct and indirect contact with each other to discuss the situation and work out a strategy on how to overcome the crisis and keep the supporting parties intact as it believes that with their support a forceful voice could be made for democracy and the government. But since time is short, the PML-N leadership wants to act on fast track to dispel the adverse impression about what the prime minister said in the parliament and to dub his words as close as to what the ISPR DG said in his statement.
The sources say the option of calling a general meeting of the PML-N to brief the party members on the situation is also under consideration. It would serve the purpose of giving a united stand of all on the PTI and PAT demands besides saving them from splitting on the issue of the army and the PM’s statement. However, it would depend on the availability of time.
The sources say as an immediate step, the PML-N will reach out to the political heads that stood by the government in the ongoing turbulent situation to explain on what ground it had asked the army chief for help.
The PPP, JI and the MQM are raising questions on the fairness and transparency of the last elections and have many times expressed reservations.
But they say they accepted the election results in the interest of democracy and the civil rule. And these leading parties seem to change their stand in case they find Nawaz Sharif guilty in the PM-COAS episode.
The sources say the situation is quite sensitive as things have gone beyond what they appear and if the government fails to convince its allies, they can also shift their stand. They say allies of the government in the crisis want the democratic setup to continue, but they do not tag it much with personalities and parties, so the government is feeling delicacy of the situation.
Independent sources say the government is not comfortable at present as it needs to give a clarity to its stand and tell on what basis it sought help from the army chief when the whole parliament was standing by it and resolutions were passed in support of the PM and the government. These sources are in a fix to understand if under Article 245 of the Constitution the army can be called in aid of civil administration, help on a political issue can also be termed akin to administrative help.
Another rising worry for the government is call from MQM Quaid Altaf Hussain to the army chief to step in while some PPP leaders are voicing impeachment of the prime minister for telling a lie as, according to them, he has not remained ‘sadiq and ‘ameen’ in terms of Article 62 of the Constitution.
This is a clear departure of these parties from their past stand. They want strong persuasive argument from the government that it did not involve the army chief as an arbitrator and guarantor to the issue with PTI and PAT.
The PPP, which owns the present democratic dispensation as a result of the sacrifices of its leader Benazir Bhutto and others and being an essential part of Charter of Democracy, is against any unconstitutional action, but wants the government to act promptly before it is too late, say the sources.
With the new development, PTI and PAT have increased pressure on the prime minister for resignation and are now demanding more than that. These parties which are directly relevant to the meeting matter with the army chief grossly contradict what the PM and his aides say and are contradicting their statements.
These parties are now attacking credibility of the government, putting a question mark on its stay in power on moral government also.
The PML-N, taking stock of the whole situation, is expected to take a decision on its future line of action at a meeting on Saturday (today) in Islamabad, says a party source.