Nawaz leader for life, Shahbaz head for now
LAHORE, Feb 28: The PML-N Central Working Committee (CWC) has elected Nawaz Sharif as the party “Quaid for Life” and Shahbaz Sharif as the interim president.
A meeting of the CWC of which the Central Executive Committee (CEC) is a part was convened in Model Town on Tuesday. The meeting started at around 11:30am. All of the 27 members of the CEC were present except former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar. The entire Central Working Committee of 109 members was also present.
Addressing the meeting, Nawaz said there was no greater crime in a democratic country than to trample on the Constitution and swear allegiance to a dictator and his PCO. “Are we supposed to agree with the decisions of such judges? The crime I was indicted for is not a hundredth of the crimes committed against democracy and the Constitution by these PCO judges,” said the PML-N Quaid.
He said while going into the 2018 general elections, the PML-N had a performance sheet like no other and a powerful narrative that resonated with the hearts and minds of all countrymen. This narrative was not the narrative of the PML-N but the narrative of people who were tired of their vote being trampled on by the forces who did not respect them. “The nation awaits you to stand as their representatives and become their unified voice for the narrative of sanctity of vote and civilian supremacy in a democracy,” Nawaz said.
He praised Shahbaz and said he wanted to appreciate Shahbaz Sharif for the tremendous development work in Punjab. Had there been no delay of 22 months, the Orange Line Metro Train would have been functioning in Lahore, he said and added that wonderful performance had become the CM’s conspicuous identity. Lahore appeared to be a fully-developed metropolis and Metro buses were also plying in Multan.
When Shahbaz came to Nawaz after his speech, Nawaz hugged him and congratulated him. Maryam Nawaz also came to the stage and greeted her uncle. After a short address to the CWC by Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Deputy Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal called for nominations for the post of PML-N interim president upon which Nawaz proposed Shahbaz Sharif that prompted a loud and unanimous applause. Then Shahbaz was unanimously elected and sworn in as the PML-N interim president.
PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq presented a resolution which proposed that Nawaz Sharif was, is and would always be the Quaid of the PML-N. The CWC rose to its feet while clapping and chanting slogans “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while endorsing the resolution, said the people of Pakistan and the party members had the right to choose their president, the court had no business or right to decide who should be the head of a political party.
Talking to the media after the meeting, Mushahidullah Khan said Nawaz was the founder and soul of the PML-N. The support base of the party and the party leadership would always identify him as the supreme leader of the PML-N. The decisions of the Supreme Court were against democratic values, against democracy itself, against the true spirit of the Constitution and against the people of Pakistan. Nawaz, was, is and would always remain the leader of the PML-N. He said Shahbaz Sharif had utmost respect for his elder brother and still considered himself a worker of the party headed by Nawaz Sharif.
Earlier, Shahbaz appeared overwhelmed with mixed sentiments and said: “Today is an important moment in my life and it is no easy task to control sentiments while holding the office of the PML-N president,” he said and added he closely watched his elder brother during the last 30 years, laying the foundations of the PML-N and developing it as the most popular political party with his hard work and collaboration of party workers and colleagues. “We are of the opinion that boundless bounties of Allah Almighty helped us in this journey and this success is not a small achievement. Go through the national history and tell me how much politicians have been chosen to serve the country and given such a number of opportunities for this gigantic task?”
He said: “Pakistan is going through the most serious moments of its political life and now I consider it a good luck that we have the patronage of an experienced and far-sighted political leader like Nawaz Sharif. There is no bigger honour for me that a leader of the stature of Nawaz Sharif has selected me for this post. My heart and mind are asking me again and again whether any other person could replace Nawaz Sharif and the love which people always showered on him could be shared with any other person? Certainly, it is next to impossible. As I have stated, I have had the opportunity to serve the country and my party for more than 30 years as a younger brother and trusted lieutenant of Nawaz Sharif. I consider this service a lifelong asset. I can say it with all human modesty but with a sense of pride that I have always tried my best to follow the norms in my political career, which I learnt from my father. I thank Allah Almighty for blessing me with the guidance of my loving elder brother. The journey of guidance and patronage is continuing till today and will continue in the coming days as well.”
He said Pakistan suffered in the past and it needed continued healing. “It is a fact that we have had succeeded in starting a gigantic journey of national reconstruction under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif. That is why the darkness has died down and in some time, the loadshedding would become a thing of the past." He said Nawaz Sharif refused to sell the country for five billion dollars and made it an atomic power.
He said CPEC was one of the biggest national achievements and all the provinces had started benefiting from this mega project. “A prosperous economic future is knocking at the doors of our country. The performance of our stock market is much better than other stock markets in the region. The menace of terrorism has been defeated to a larger extent due to great sacrifices of the armed forces of Pakistan. Pakistan of today is much better than the country which the PML-N inherited in 2013 and with the grace of Allah Almighty, the future of Pakistan will be even more beautiful. We all are thankful to Nawaz Sharif for all this and this is a great legacy which nations expect from their genuine leaders.”
Shahbaz said: “There is another gigantic challenge before us today. As the largest political party in the country, we have to play our role to further the political process. We have to ensure that the political process results in free and fair elections. We shall continue this process of development after winning the elections. We have to rid the country of poverty, ignorance and social evils. We will have to create lakhs of opportunities of honourable livelihood so that our youth could live honourably. We have to continue the journey of bringing improvements in police system to improve law and order and provide justice to people at their doorsteps.”
He said it was time to learn from mistakes and work for the country. “I appeal to all the circles from the core of my heart that let us jointly think for the country. Our beloved country is demanding national unity, mutual tolerance and justice. Let us say yes to this voice of the country,” he said, adding that the PML-N would remain united and work under the guidance of Nawaz Sharif.