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EditorialNawaz's influence on national politics

Nawaz’s influence on national politics

A second round of consultation between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and party supremo Mian Nawaz Sharif over key national issues gives an insight into the latter’s influence on the country’s politics. In reality, London has become an important deliberation point for the PML-N to decide national and political issues. Earlier, a consultation meeting was held in May 2022 when PM Shehbaz Sharif along with some of his cabinet members had held a meeting with Nawaz Sharif in London. During the latest consultative meeting, party leadership discussed several issues including the time of general elections, appointment of next army chief as well as a possible change of PTI-PML-Q coalition government in Punjab. It has been agreed that the PML-N would complete its term and the next general elections will be held at the stipulated time.

Meetings among the party ranks to discuss key issues is not a new thing but the PML-N’s London huddle has a different scenario altogether. The process of in-person consultation with Mian Nawaz Sharif has been on since 2019 when the Lahore High Court permitted him to leave for medical treatment for four weeks, however, he has remained in London ever since. Mian Nawaz Sharif is convicted in two corruption cases in Pakistan and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

It is suffice to say that the late meeting is aimed at sorting out current political issues back in Pakistan, where the PTI is up in arms to avenge its ouster. Nevertheless, meetings and consultations are good things but discussion of national issues and finding their solutions while sitting abroad is a cause of concern. It is against the stature of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to take ‘directions’ from a person, who has been declared guilty and proclaimed offender in his own country. It would have been better for the PML-N to first convince the party supremo to come to Pakistan and face the trial. Such acts give an opportunity to the PTI leadership to take the PML-N to task for going against the moral principles. On the other hand, the PML-N claims that Nawaz Sharif has been victimized in the corruption cases decided by the judiciary instigated under political vengeance. This attitude shows PML-N’s lack of trust on the justice system in the country.

The PML-N leadership needs to adopt a clear policy regarding its affiliation with Mian Nawaz Sharif. If it cannot distance itself from the former prime minister, it needs to fight his case in the court and prove his innocence. Till that time, any consultation with the former premier, who has been declared absconder by the court, tantamount to an assumption that Pakistan’s justice system has flaws in awarding punishment to persons accused of corruption. Therefore, key decisions on national issues by the chief executive need to be taken at home and not abroad as well as not in consultation with a person, who is wanted by law in Pakistan.

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