The PML-N will be electing its central office-bearers, and it will be a testing time for the leaderships, especially the Sharifs, who have to decide whom to accommodate for the functional offices or contain others who have served the party well, especially in their exile, but do not carry much moss within the party top tiers.
As per the political analysts, this time around the intra-party polls would be hugely crucial and the first stage to strengthening the party keeping in mind the fact that the next local government and general elections, which are major upcoming activities. Also, if the PML-N decides to initiate a movement against the PPP government, then only those leaders would be of huge importance who have influence and following among the masses, especially in the N-League cadres of the lower ranks, while the coffee-table philosophers with depleted energies would not be in a position to bring success to the party. “The Sharifs are virtually caught in a catch-22 situation since they can neither please all the stalwarts nor satisfy the rest,” said a senior party leader, who advised his top men that they must be prepared to reject those who slept during their exile, remained aloof by choice and never turned out to support protesting N-Leaguers, but are now very much part and parcel of the decision-making process. Plus they are also aspirants to secure party offices for them. “If they are ‘elected’ to some party positions, it will very sad, and will jolt a many to question party leadership’s decision, if not conspicuously, at least within close circles,” he averred, adding that this election is a very tricky pitch to bat on for an ardent cricket fan PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.
The PML-N had already announced the election committee, which comprises Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Muhammad Hamza, Mamnoon Hussain, Changez Khan Murree, Shah Ghulam Qadir, Pir Sabir Shah and Haji Akbar. It means that Jhagra will be automatically staying out of the race for the central office bearers of the party.
Seeing the close knitting of the party, a PML-N leader is of the considered opinion that it is expected that no two leaders would file nomination papers for one slot, and hence there would no election as such since they would be ‘elected’ unopposed. Otherwise, if more nominations are filed, either one would withdraw his papers, or lastly, there would be a balloting. The second option would be of moving a resolution by three to four senior leaders, who would request Nawaz Sharif to become head of the party, while the others would endorse it unanimously. In the same resolution, he could be also empowered to nominate or recommend names of the central office-bearers. “The elections would be just a formality now since the office-bearers had already been ‘selected’ or elected unopposed,” maintains the leaders seeking strict anonymity, adding that consensus has been developed for electing Nawaz Sharif as an unopposed party president
Party sources have confided with TheNation that that veteran parliamentarian Raja Zafarul Haq would be the chairman of the party, as position considered to be ceremonial with little say in the party affairs. In the same vein, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi would be the senior vice president. “Indications are that the estranged from the N-League Makhdoom would not be given a towering slot, like his personality,” observes the party source, who is visibly pro-Hashmi.
A leader agreed that his party had taken long to complete the exercise of elections since its tiers were dissolved in September 2009, and then it was announced that it would complete the intra-party polls within six months, but the party failed to do so despite repeatedly extended deadlines.