LAHORE - The PML-N leaders and workers are in a fix as to what stand they should exactly take over the statement made by the party supremo Nawaz Sharif on 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Nawaz Sharif, in his interview, had allegedly supported the Indian allegations that Mumbai attacks were aided by Pakistani agencies.

The partymen seem confused over defending what the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said in an interview given to a daily and now he is firm on his stance when the party president Shehbaz Sharif and some others are trying to defuse the situation describing misreporting and misinterpretation of what Nawaz had said. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who regards Nawaz Sharif as his prime minister and meticulously follows his instructions, also seems inconsistent with his observations over the statement. In public and the parliament, the prime minister is endorsing statement of Nawaz Sharif while he had rejected the same when he presided over the National Security Council meeting on the same issue the other day. This has made things more complex and confused for the partymen particularly when prime minister himself is shaky in his stand. The premier perhaps is taking a myopic view of what ‘his PM’ words can spell out Pakistani official position on the Mumbai carnage at the international level and its trickledown effects in the party.

Not too many party ministers and leaders are trying to defend what Nawaz Sharif said over Mumbai attacks.

At the Punjab level, it is Law Minister Rana Sanaullah who firmly stands by the former prime minister and his utterance since he himself was a victim as MPA during the Musharraf era. Rana Sana explaining the statement of his quaid, says, it is time to come clean. However it not the case with every treasury member as majority of them are reserved and keeping mum over the issue and do not like to talk about the issue. It may be for the reason, as a member said, that the statement by Nawaz Sharif has come at a time when the party legislators are already worried over the daily defection of the party MPs to the PTI and are pensive about their own political future.

After budget session, the Punjab Assembly witnessed strong criticism by the Opposition side over former premier’s remarks. The PTI-led Opposition also held protest demonstration outside the assembly chamber to press the demand for action under the law against the former prime minister and resignation of the sitting prime minister for jeopardizing national interests at the international level by stirring up an issue which was uncalled for and by all the way had to benefit the enemy.

This protest was countered by the treasury members in the house but not so vehemently and not by all but largely by a section of women which has already set the tradition of raising voice on any criticism against the party leaders.

When contacted, some senior members of the party avoided the question and preferred to maintain silence while some others only supported formation of the commission so that chaff is sifted from the grains. However they all sounded committed with the party and showed optimism about the party victory in the next election discarding the impression that party quaid’s statement will cast any impact on the party position which had shown tremendous performance in the country over the last five years.

There was also opinion by some N-members on the stand taken by Nawaz Sharif that it showed he did not make the statement off the cuff. They appeared apprehensive of the ways, the matter was being stretched out of proportion by political and media side which they said, was not in the interest of the country.

At the public level, the statement of Nawaz Sharif has not been taken in a positive way. During an interaction with the party workers, they were found aligning themselves more with the party president than the party quaid while appearing confused about the meaning and objectives of the latter’s statement.

Political observers wondered why Sharif stirred this issue at this juncture when he took no action during the four years in power after May 2013 elections. They expressed the view that Nawaz was blowing up the issue in order to create an impression over the world that his conviction was due to his fresh narrative on Mumbai attacks and not due to corruption.

Given this situation, they say, party leadership should clear the dust and adopt a definite stance whether or not the PML-N supports words of the former prime minister.