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PML-N leaders discuss mass contact drive

PML-N leaders discuss mass contact drive

LAHORE: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif held a consultation at his Jati Umra residence here on Friday, in which some of his close family members and some ministers participated and discussed issues including the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) proposed mass contact drive.

Among those who attended the huddle were Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Maryam Nawaz.

None of the participants spoke to journalists following the meeting or gave official word of the proceedings, but sources said that they had discussed attempts made by certain quarters to make inroads into the PML-N, as well as coordination with other political parties on certain issues of importance. The draft law regarding fresh delimitations and preparations for the next elections were also on the agenda.




The sources said that the participants had ruled out the possibility of elections being held before the scheduled time.

Ousted PM holds consultation at Jati Umra residence

The former prime minister and Rana Iqbal discussed various strategies to uncover likely desertions in the party ranks, and to prevent them from using the floor of the provincial assembly to announce the desertions, the sources said, adding that last week Mr Sharif had held a conversation along similar lines with National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

The meeting asked the PML-N Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, especially the MPAs, to start preparing for a public meeting in Abbotabad — the first of a series of meetings the PML-N chief is planning to address in order to mobilise his party workers and to muster the support of the masses against his “judicial” ouster.

The public meeting in Abbotabad is scheduled for Nov 20.

Party workers at the Sheikhupura chapter, the district adjacent to the Punjab capital, were told to start getting ready to host the second public gathering, following the one in Abbotabad. MNA Javed Lateef from Sheikhupura wasted no time in calling a meeting of local leaders to start work at once, said a report from the district.

The third meeting, it has been learnt, will be held in Multan. However, the dates for the meeting and the next public meetings will be announced later, keeping in view the dates to be fixed for hearings of three references in the accountability court against the party chief and his family.

Mr Shahbaz informed the participants about the outcome of his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F)chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman held earlier in the day.

The PML-N accords special importance to the JUI-F, which is effective in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some pockets of Balochistan, in the wake of its own fast declining support from the religious vote bank, especially since the mistake in changing the words of the oath regarding Khatm-i-Nabuwwat in the election nomination papers.

An official of the JUI-F told Dawn that the Sharifs seemed worried during the meeting “perhaps either because of the political scene developing since the Panama Papers case verdict, or the poor health of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz”.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2017

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