LAHORE - A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parley under former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at Jati Umra Monday mooted current political situation and strategy for the forthcoming general elections.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Kh Saad Rafique, Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, Governor Rafique Rajwana, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and other senior leaders attended the five-hour meeting.

Although the ruling party deliberated upon strategy for ongoing accountability cases against the ruling Sharif family – including reopening Hudaibia Paper Mill reference – the meeting mainly mulled over on-time elections and countrywide electioneering on the basis of its performance.

The PML-N leadership reviewed the delimitation bill and contacting opposition to address its concerns over population census. The huddle also discussed the plan to counter rumours about split in PML-N.

The leadership laid stress on avoiding use of harsh words against state organs and making party supporters abide by the centralised command while opining of institutions.

The sitting also took stock of Hudaibiya Papers Mills case reopening and the participants gave proposals on defending the Sharifs and others being tried in accountability cases.

Sources said, the meeting viewed persuading the court, in the first instance, on dropping hearing on Hubaibiya case as it was a closed chapter after the Lahore High Court decision. They said the participants wanted Nawaz to continue with leading the party and gear up a public interaction.

The Council of Common Interest meeting, which was scheduled in the afternoon, also came under discussion at the PML-N meeting with a view to develop a consensus among all provinces, particularly PPP-ruled Sindh, on delimitation bill in light of fresh census.

The sources said the Nawaz-League was inclined to hold a fresh census on some areas of Karachi from wherein the PPP and the MQM complained about skipping their voters. The sources said the party leadership decided to remain in contact with PPP to win over it and the PM was tasked for the cause.

Nawaz was also briefed about the constitutional amendment bill and NA speaker-led discussion with other stakeholders over the matter.

Saad Rafique ruled out the possibility of early election as being demanded by PTI Imran Khan, saying: the constitution does not provide the same after fresh census has been conducted, no matter how strongly a party will desire.”

“Early election will create a constitutional crisis. Imran Khan is living in fool’s paradise. He (Imran) does have knowledge of law and thje constitution” he told the media after the meeting.

He said the party deliberated on its reorganisation and public rallies at the divisional levels. The railways minister said the meeting also decided on Nawaz Sharif’s address to the public in Abbotabad followed by his countrywide public meetings.

About the PML-N contacts with the PPP, he said door to contacts and negotiations are always kept open in politics.  They are in touch with every party on national issues, he said, adding that political parties remain in touch with each other and those which deny this, are liars.

About the present meeting, the Railway Minister said it took various decisions to form Central Working Committee and the Central Executive Committee in the month instant and also on notifying the Central Parliamentary Board of the Party within next couple of months.

About PPP point of view on constitutional amendment bill, he said “so far the PPP attitude is not cooperative. Let’s see what’s outcome of the CCI meeting today. We will come to know whether the issue has been resolved.

Once the amendment bill is carried out, the elections can be delayed, he said pinning hope on the positive result of the CCI meeting. He said new delimitations are must after new census has taken place. 

About the Senate elections, he said they will be held in time as constitutional requirement. He however wondered the matter of ouster of an elected government get air whenever the Senate elections are around the corner.

About the reason for Nawaz ouster from PM House, he said: “everyone knows the reason.”

“Nawaz Sharif has been punished for making the country terror-free, giving it economic direction, taking up CPEC and for his stand on the supremacy for the law and respect to public mandate,” he added.

Commenting on the statement of PSP head Mustafa Kamal on the MQM-Pakistan links with the establishment, he said: “What Kamal and Farooq Satter said are very serious things which merit probe.”

Political pundits saw next couple for days vital for carrying out legislation on fresh delimitations as the elections schedule depends upon it.