LAHORE - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to continue as PML-N Central President in the upcoming intra-party election due on October 18 at Convention Centre, Islamabad.

The party election, being held after an interval of over five years, is not likely to bring major changes in the current list of office bearers.

As PML-N General Secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra has replaced Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, chances are bright that Jhagra would get Iqbal’s general-secretary position.

Party sources say Central Working Committee (CWC) has been delegated powers to pick up the names for other candidates, and an idea to enhance the number of senior vice presidents and vice presidents is under consideration – the existing number of these positions is six and two respectively.

The party constitution provides for altering the number of these seats. However, four of the six senior vice presidents - namely Sartaj Aziz, Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir, Sardar Sikandar Hayat and Nawabzada Changez Khan – are likely to retain their position.

Syed Ghaus Ali Shah is likely to be replaced by Nihal Hashmi advocate as senior vice president if the latter is not nominated for Sindh Presidentship of the party. A similar case is that of Ameer Muqam who is likely to be made party’s KPK president as the party leadership believes he has shown excellent performance in countering PTI in the by-elections and its political shows in KP.

The general council of PML-N has over 1500 members from four provinces, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan yet names of most of these office bearers are pre-decided.

As to Deputy Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, sources say, he is likely to retain the seat - although a serious thought was previously given to elevate him as General Secretary. Mushahidullah Khan is also likely to continue as Central Information Secretary.

The PML-N and Nawaz Sharif are concomitant and without him the party is nothing, goes the general impression gathered from the partymen in different cadres. Presently, no one else could replace him as party president.

Nawaz Sharif, who became PML-N president for the first time in 1993, is being seen within the party and outside as the true moving force. He handed over the presidentship to Javed Hashmi when he left for Jeddah along with his family on December 10, 2000 during Musharraf era. Upon his return five years later in November 2007, he was again elected president unopposed.

PML-N party election in Punjab will be held in October next year wherein Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and younger brother of Nawaz, is set to retain the office of party president in Punjab.

PML-N’s polls commission

meets tomorrow

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Veteran PML-N leader Ch Jaffar Iqbal, who heads a five-member election commission of the party to hold intra-party polls, has called a meetng of the commission  on Thursday (tomorrow) evening to announce the schedule of polls.

In a media chat yesterday, Ch Jaffar said the holding of party elections would help strengthen the democratic order in the country and it was the strong discipline and democracy within the party which caused its victory in the 2013 general elections and all the elections afterwards, including those in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well as of the local bodies.

He further said that it was due to the prudent and people-friendly policies of the PML-N that almost all the by-elections held since 2013 were won by the ruling party.

Responding to a question about the upcoming agitation plan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Ch Jaffar Iaqbal said although in democracy political parties had a right to protest and express their points of view, an agitation must remain in certain limits and not turn detrimental to the country’s progress the why it did during the sits-in by PTI and PAT in 2014 in the federal capital.

Criticising Imran Khan for treading the course of agitation, Ch Jaffar Iqbal who had also served as the National Assembly deputy speaker said the PTI chairman should have waited for the decisions of Election Commission of Pakistan and Supreme Court on the opposition parties’ petitions seeking action against the prime minister for his alleged involvement in the Panama leaks.

He said the people of Pakistan were fed up with the politics of agitation and disruption because they wanted to see the incumbent political government to pursue its development agenda for the collective good of the people.

Jaffar Iqbal also criticised the PTI leadership for its boycott of the joint sitting of the Parliament on the Kashmir issue and said Imran Khan, instead of providing to the enemies a chance to criticise the country should have stood by the government on the Kashmir issue on which the whole nation was united.

He said the PTI leadership knew well that the pace with which the ruling PML-N was accomplishing its uplift goals, particularly in infrastructure development and power generation, the people of Pakistan would bring Nawaz Sharif into power even with a thumping majority.