ISLAMABAD - Rejecting demand of Pakistan People’s Party to replace Shehbaz Sharif with some other candidate for the slot of leader of the House, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz fielded the younger Sharif as their candidate in the election to the post of the prime minister due on August 17.
Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front told The Nation that the PPP leaders had approached the PML-N with the proposal that the party should field some other leader for the election to the office of the prime minister as the PPP was divided over supporting the PML-N president for the slot keeping in view the bitter past and hostile statements coming from Shehbaz against the top PPP leadership.
A senior PPP leader, however, said that they had just conveyed the problems the party was facing on extending support to the PML-N president, but in case the PML-N insisted on fielding Shehbaz, the PPP would be under moral obligation to extend support to him as a party, he added.
But sources in the party said that in case the PML-N insists on fielding Shehbaz Sharif for election of the leader of the House, some senior party leaders including PPPP President Asif Ali Zardari might not cast their vote.
A senior PPP leader said that the party wanted some other person from the PML-N to run for the office of the prime minister as the party (PPP) was split over extending support to Shahbaz for the position, but the idea was not approved by the PML-N leadership and they moved ahead with filing nomination papers of Shehbaz Sharif for the slot of leader of the House in National Assembly.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Central leader Mushahid Ullah Khan said that it was the PPP which had pushed the PML-N to field candidate for the slot of prime minister and even it were the PPP leaders who recommended the name of Shahbaz Sharif for the slot as the decision of forming the joint opposition was made in Islamabad.
Sharing details of the meeting, Mushahid Ullah Khan said that the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had floated the idea that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should be fielded as joint candidate for the election of the premier; the slot of the speaker should be given to the PML-N while the MMA would bring its candidate for the elections of deputy speaker of the National Assembly. But the PPP leaders present in the meeting pressed that being the largest party in the opposition alliance, the PML-N should field its candidate for the slot of leader of the House while PPP and MMA would field candidates for the slots of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, he said.
He said that he could not say as to why the PPP was backing out from its commitment. He rejected the demand of Shahbaz Sharif’s replacement with other leader, adding that PML-N would take its decisions on its own and would not allow any other party to interfere in internal affairs of the party.
The PML-N MNA Mian Javid Latif said that initially they had not even put the stake on the slot of Leader of House in National Assembly and it was the PPP leaders including Syed Naveed Qamar, Sherry Rehman and Syed Khursheed Shah who wanted the PML-N to field candidate for the slot of Leader of House and also supported the candidature of Shahbaz Sharif.