Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s ‘undemocratic’ promotion to the office of senior vice president and chief organiser of the party did not go down well with the senior stalwarts.

The appointment makes Maryam the third most powerful figure in the party after her father, Nawaz and uncle Shehbaz, who is the sitting prime minister of Pakistan.

According to insiders, a large number of senior second-tier PML-N leaders are upset with the appointment, terming lack of consultation as one of the main reasons kicking up discontent over the elevation.

A senior PML-N leader told The News, on condition of anonymity, that “this decision is undemocratic and is aimed at furthering the Sharifs’ political dynasty.”

He said that hardly any senior leader outside the Sharif family was consulted before making the decision.

After the decision, senior PML-N leaders such as Khawaja Asif, Tanvir Hussain, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Raja Zafarul Haq, are now under Maryam in the party hierarchy. Before the decision, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the only senior vice president of the party, with over a dozen vice presidents, including Maryam Nawaz.

Another party leader, who spoke to The News on the condition of anonymity, bemoaned the decision saying: “Only the Sharif family or those closely associated with them have the first right to hold every key party or government position”.

Moreover, PM Shehbaz’s elder son Hamza, currently the opposition leader in Punjab, was chosen as Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab last year with his father in the Prime Minister’s House.

Insiders say that many in the party think that the likes of Khawaja Saad Rafique and Malik Ahmad Khan would have been much better choices as CM Punjab, but the Sharif family chose Hamza, who could last as Punjab CM only for a few months.

Another close relative of the Sharif family who wields influence in the party is Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. He is also the president of PML-N’s overseas chapter.

On the other hand, Nawaz’s son-in-law and Maryam’s husband, Capt (retd) Safdar, is the president of PML-N’s Youth Wing.

According to a PML-N leader, Maryam’s son Junaid is also being propagated by the party’s social media team as the future of the N-League. However, Junaid has not yet joined politics.

A party insider said that the senior PML-N leadership outside the Sharif family would even be subordinate to Junaid when he enters politics, adding that democracy had taken a backseat as far as PML-N’s internal politics was concerned.


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