PML-N rudderless amid media row
By Khawar Ghumman
ISLAMABAD: As the political storm surrounding the issue of fake degrees continues to gather strength and the PML-N becomes a punching bag for the media, the opposition partyÂ’s key leaders have left the country over the past few days.
Such was the urgency for a damage control exercise that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had to call a press conference in London on Saturday to denounce a resolution adopted by the Punjab Assembly against the media.
He termed the resolution part of a conspiracy against the PML-N. Mr Sharif is in London for medical check-up of his wife.
Next comes the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who hardly misses a chance to attract media attention. But he is keeping a low profile in the standoff between his party and the media.
At a time when the entire PML-N leadership is trying to seek a rapprochement with the media, which has been supporting it against the government over the past two years, Chaudhry Nisar appears to be more interested in savouring the sights and sounds of Europe.
The opposition leader, who used to follow Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s line in party politics, has chosen to keep silent apparently because the two Sharifs have taken different stands on the issue. Rao Saleem, the opposition leader’s private secretary, said Chaudhry Nisar was somewhere in Europe and would return to the country next month. “I have not seen him (Nisar) since the last week of June.”
Abid Sher Ali, a PML-N member and Chairman of the National Assembly’s standing committee on education, who remains at the centre of the controversy as he had ordered verification of legislators’ degrees, has also quietly left the country for summer vacation. The party’s media cell in Islamabad claimed that Mr Sher Ali had gone to the UK on a pre-planned trip, but PML-N sources said he had been asked to remain off the scene for some time.
The young legislator from Faisalabad, who has been hailed for several months as the main driving force to purge the assemblies of corrupt politicians is now being criticised by party lawmakers for questioning their academic credentials.
According to sources, Mr Sher Ali has been asked to keep himself away from the process of verification of legislators’ degrees.
As the Higher Education Commission has set July 13 (today) as a deadline for universities to complete the verification process, Mr Sher Ali’s absence from the scene is quite significant. The HEC had announced that it would complete verification process by July 16.