PML-N chief expected ‘timely responseÂ’
By Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif expressed his displeasure over the ‘inaction’ of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to the passage of a Punjab Assembly resolution against the media as the elder brother thought the younger should have timely intervened in the issue to save the party from going into a situation which later proved awkward.
Mr Mastikhel had moved the resolution against media in the assembly “on his own” on Friday which was passed unanimously. The media reaction has forced the PML-N elder to come hard on the mover(s) of the resolution.
“After the words of Nawaz Sharif (PML-N chief) that Mastikhel should be thrown out of the party (for moving the resolution) he is considered to be no more with the PML-N. However, legal procedure will be followed in this regard,” PML-N Senator Pervez Rashid told Dawn.
He further made it clear that the PML-N never compromised on principles even if it had to pay a heavy price for them. “We will not mind even if we will have to sit in opposition in Punjab,” he added.
Reacting to Nawaz’s statement, Mr Mastikhel, who had won from PP-47 (Bhakkar) on a PML-N ticket, said: “He (Nawaz) is my leader and I will clarify things to him.”
A party source said soon after the passage of resolution the former prime minister phoned the chief minister and inquired about reasons that led to such a move which resulted in party’s ‘head-on collision with media’.
He said Nawaz Sharif expressed his annoyance with Shahbaz over the issue, suggesting that he should have intervened and stopped Mastikhel from presenting the resolution.
Clarifying his position, Shahbaz told his elder brother that he was at his chamber in the assembly when the resolution was moved, he said. “And I left the assembly when fiery speeches began against media,” the source quoted the chief minister as having told Nawaz.
The source said Nawaz’s statement about throwing Mastikhel out of the party was also seen a ‘snub’ for both Shahbaz and PA speaker Rana Iqbal Ahmed Khan for their ‘tacit approval’ to the move. “Shahbaz has been cautioned (by Nawaz) to be careful in the future,” the source added.
“Mastikhel is close to the chief minister and giving a straight verdict against him without listening him shows that all is not well in the PML-N camp. Shahbaz often does not consult senior Sharif in provincial matters,” he said.
Though Senator Rashid, who is considered representing Nawaz Sharif’s camp in the provincial government, has made it clear Mastikhel is “out of the party”, a PML-N provincial leader who is close to Shahbaz is of the view that it is not easy to initiate legal action against the MPA.
“A reference against a legislator can only be filed with the Election Commission if he or she votes against party’s will on budget or the party head in the event of a no-confidence motion,” the PML-N leader said.
He said his party did not have much ground to initiating legal action against Mr Mastikhel. “The option left with the party is to go for his (Mastikhel) suspension from the assembly session for a few weeks. But for that too it will have to find some solid grounds,” he said.
Mr Mastikhel had won two seats (NA-73 and PP-47 Bhakkar) in 2002 elections on PML-Q seats. Later, he changed loyalties and joined hands with Sharifs when they returned to Pakistan after exile.