ISLAMABAD    -   In line with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s directives last week, party’s Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal yesterday issued a circular barring all members from meeting personnel from the armed forces and the associated agencies in personal or official capacity.

“I have been directed by the PML-N Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to communicate to you, the party’s policy regarding meetings with the functionaries of the Armed Forces of Pakistan and related agencies. The PML-N leadership is of the firm view that such meetings, even though conducted in good faith, may cause undue controversies. We all know that the contents of such meetings may be selectively leaked in order to serve specific interests and malign the political fraternity,” said a circular issued by the PML-N Secretary General.

The circular further said that if such a meeting is necessary in the interest of national security and fulfillment of constitutional responsibilities, then it shall be done indiscreetly and with the prior permission of the party’s Quaid. “If however, such meeting is necessary in the interest of national security and/or fulfillment of constitutional responsibilities then it shall be done indiscreetly and with the prior permission of the party Quaid,” said the circular.

The secretary general further said that the party was making struggle for survival of Pakistan and that its stance was based solely on national interests for constitutional supremacy in the country.

Meanwhile, the circular further added that the PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif expects strong and unwavering support from party leadership at the time when country is passing through a defining democratic crisis in defending it as a party policy to turn Pakistan into a truly democratic state.

Nawaz Sharif had, last week, barred party members from holding individual, private or delegation-level meetings with the military leadership without prior permission of the party leadership. The directives came a day after the army spokesman disclosed that former Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair had twice reached out to Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed the issue of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in the past few weeks. Relations between the PTI-led government and the opposition have become more tense in recent days after Nawaz Sharif criticised the ‘military’s interference’ in politics.

The controversy kicked off soon after the opposition’s all parties’ conference last week when Federal Minister for Railway Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed revealed that opposition leaders held meetings with military top brass in last two months.

Majority of the people were referring his claim to a secret national security briefing of military leadership to civil side on Gilgit-Baltistan.