LAHORE - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is seems in favour of that its members-elect will take oath to become part of the Parliament, disagreeing with the JUI-F and other parties which participated in the multiple parties conference Friday.
Sources in PML-N say its central executive committee is meeting in Lahore today (Sunday) to work out future political strategy, launch protest against the election results and seek the election commission’s resignation. On the top of all that the CEC will discuss is oath of its MNAs-elect to become members of the Parliament or stay away from this exercise to boycott the oath.
The sources say, following participation in the MMA-hosted APC in Islamabad on July 27, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif received input from various senior leaders on the question of oath taking of the members- elect as parliamentarians or otherwise. Majority of the party men were in favour of taking oath although hawks in the PML-N also expressed their mind of boycotting the oath to press for the demand of fresh elections.
Weighing merits and demerits of both the viewpoints, the sources say, the party tilt was towards taking oath in the Parliament. However, oath-taking may be delayed for some time and not on the day prescribed for this purpose by the election commission. In the meantime, the party may observe national and international reaction to the protest movement, they add.
Those who favour oath-taking view that inside the Parliament PML-N will be able to reinforce the MMA protest.
The PML-N has already rejected results of the July 25 elections which have served the party a big blow by cutting down its strength in the National Assembly from the last 128 general seats to just 64 all over the country. The party has also badly suffered in Punjab where it attained 129 seats more than PTI’s 123 seats.
The party is weighing the chances of forming government in the Punjab and mounting pressure against the election results at the same time.
The party sources say the PML-N is vying for formation of government in the Punjab and majority of senior leaders believe that option of boycotting the oath of the Parliament will not suit the purpose on that score. The leaders say by entering the Parliament, the party will not only be better positioned to protest in a democratic manner but also that forum will lend credence and weight to its voice.
Moreover, being the largest party on the opposition side, the PML-N will lead the opposition to play an active and vibrant role against the ruling PTI and give it a tough time.
A decision to boycott the oath taking is also open to dampening the party’s efforts to form government in the Punjab, for which it is making hectic efforts to muster support of other parties and independents.
Before the MMA announced protest through the MPC (multiple parties conference), the PML-N had made its mind to sit on the opposition benches. The third largest party in the elections, the PPP, has also rejected the demand of boycotting the oath and has announced to take oath and show up actively on the floor of the house against the election results and credibility of the ensuing PTI government.
Although the PPP has rejected the elections, terming them non-transparent and unfair, it has decided to come to the Parliament to fight what it terms injustice done to its mandate.
The sources say the instructions given by PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif about the party line of action in the new situation will also be put forward and taken into account at the CEC meeting of the PML-N today. The final announcement regarding going to the Parliament or staying away will be made after obtaining views of the CEC members today.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has also asked the members-elect of the national and provincial assemblies to reach the party secretariat in Lahore today.