ISLAMABAD -  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday stressed the need for selecting consensus candidates for the slots of mayors, deputy mayors and chairmen district councils across Punjab.

He expressed these views after having a briefing from party leaders on the groupings within the party on the elections of local bodies’ heads.

Terming the local bodies nurseries for providing trained and well-versed leadership at the provincial and national-levels, the prime minister said that these elections should further cement the foundation of the party instead of fragmenting its base due to differences and groupings for the elections of heads of the local bodies in the province.

The prime minister directed the central and provincial leadership of the party to play its due role in defusing the tension between the local leaders of the party over the elections of mayors and deputy mayors, and stressed the need for bringing consensus candidates for the slots of mayors, deputy mayors and chairmen of various district councils.

Insiders in the party informed The Nation that the party leadership would meet again on Tuesday to finalise the list of the party candidates for various districts, and would also constitute committees to resolve the differences among the party leaders due to these elections.

Keeping in view the urgency of the matter, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cancelled his scheduled visit to Karak on Tuesday and would chair another session of the party leaders to finalise the candidates list for the slots of mayors, deputy mayors and chairmen of the district councils.

The differences within the party in various districts including Faisalabad and other towns over the party’s nomination of candidates for these top slots of local bodies came under detailed discussion and another extensive session would be held on the issue today [Tuesday], a senior party leader said who attended the meeting, which remained in session for well over three hours.

In the meeting, the party leaders gave detailed briefing to the prime minister about the party position in these elections, and the sharp differences among the party leaders over the nomination of candidates for these elections in their respective constituencies.

The prime minister said that democracy could not flourish without functional local bodies.

Local bodies also serve as nurseries for providing trained and well-versed leadership at the provincial level and later on at the national level, Sharif stated. 

The meeting was attended by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Defence, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Interior, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Petroleum, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Railways, Senator Pervez Rashid, Dr Asif Kirmani, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, MNA, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Minister for Labour, Punjab, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Minister for Law Punjab among others.