Upper house

PML-N CEC meets today to reflect on internal change and post-change scenario

The cooperation of Ch Parvez Elahi and his eventual elevation to the post of Chief Minister for about a year could become a political challenge for the Nawaz party

LAHORE/Islamabad – The PML-N Central Executive Committee (CEC) is meeting here today to decide on several key issues relating to the possible internal change and its outcome.

This important meeting follows another important meeting between the senior leadership of the PPP and the PML-N which brought the two main opposition parties closer on the agenda to a point of sending the government home.

The very first question to be addressed by the CEC would be whether the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister should be moved? Other questions will follow if one decides to take up the daunting challenge. What should be its timing? Will he succeed? What if the movement turns against you? What should be the future shape of things if the prime minister is ousted? Who among the opposition parties should lead the interim set up for the rest of the term of the current National Assembly?

Since the PML-N wants to stand in the elections after having dismantled the government in place, the mandate of the new Prime Minister will have to be decided beforehand.

The central body of the PML-N will have to find answers to all these questions which also apply to the possible internal change in Punjab. The task in Punjab will not be easy in the presence of Ch Parvez Elahi whose cooperation is essential for any political change in the largest province. The seasoned politician from Gujrat could only be convinced to drop the PTI if he was offered the post of chief minister. And, if he agrees to take on this responsibility, will he agree to become the CM for a short stint? And, if he accepts only on condition that he be allowed to complete the remainder of the outgoing CM’s term, is that politically convenient for the PML-N?

The PML-N has more interests in Punjab than the PPP as it sees itself as a government-in-waiting. And rightly so, as its popularity graph in Punjab has increased compared to other political parties over the past three years. Although the senior leadership of the PML-N has now developed a soft corner for the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, the eventual elevation of Ch Parvez Elahi to the position of chief minister for about a year could become a political challenge for the Nawaz party. The PML-Q is already well established in some districts and it could gain ground in a few others to become the second or third largest group in the Punjab Assembly, in addition to improving its tally in the lower house of parliament. in the next general election. . An internal change in Punjab will therefore be tricky because of its possible outcome.

The PML-N think tank will have to find answers to these important questions before arriving at any decision. Above all, another million-dollar question will be whether the establishment will remain neutral if the opposition parties agree to give the incumbent government one last nudge? If the political developments in Parliament over the past year are any guide, the answer is easy to find. The opposition has faced constant defeats, particularly in the upper house where it has the majority of its senators. Is it any different now? If the motion of no confidence is proposed simply to test the neutrality of the establishment, that is another matter; but if the opposition parties take the adventure seriously, they will have to be sure of this aspect of the question.

All 27 CEC members will join the meeting online due to Covid-19 restrictions while PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif will likely attend the meeting from London with party leader Ishaq Dar.

“The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is very likely to join the Pakistan People’s Party over the no-confidence motion to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan,” sources told the Nation. They said that during Saturday’s meeting, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was accompanied by former President Asif Ali Zardari, asked the PML-N leadership to come together to propose a “motion of censorship” against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Bilawal informed the leadership of PML-N that their party was ready to send the prime minister home with a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly. However, the PML-N leadership avoided taking a decision on the spot and took time on the pretext that it did not yet have the party’s mandate to decide on the “motion of censure”.

A senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, who is considered part of the party’s cabinet in London, opined that there was ‘something’ decided at the highest level and argued that the CEC meeting had not been convened solely to refuse the offer made by PPP.

On the other hand, Zardari’s personal visit to Sharifs is considered very important by political experts, who believe that there was something special at the hands of the PPP that convinced the PML-N leaders to think seriously to this option.

It may be noted that it was rare for the former president to visit Shebhaz Sharif’s residence to see him exclusively, as previously Zardari only called former prime minister Nawaz Sharif there.

However, PML-N spokesman Marriyum Aurangzeb announced in a statement released to the media that PML-N Chairman Shehbaz Sharif spoke to Supremo Nawaz Sharif by phone and gave him confidence.

But, sources said that Maryam Nawaz Sharif also made a phone call during the meeting and Asif Ali Zardari also spoke with Nawaz Sharif on Maryam’s phone.

Earlier, after the meeting, Shehbaz Sharif also updated Maulana Fazlur Rehman on the phone and said he would also see him face to face in the coming days.

If the CEC of the PML-N gives a mandate to propose a motion of no confidence to the party leadership against Prime Minister Imran Khan, the next meeting of the joint opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will become very important.