LAHORE - PMLN party leadership has not yet given a go-ahead for the elevation of a party stalwart to head the party’s Punjab chapter.
Over the years, Shehbaz Sharif, the incumbent PML-N president, has had an important say in the N-League’s affairs concerning Punjab and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif gave importance to his younger brother’s recommendations for all the important appointments concerning the PML-N Punjab chapter and related party affairs.
Even after his elevation to the party’s top slot, Shehbaz has been keeping the post till a regular appointment is made.
At present, the N-League’s central leadership – including former prime minister Sharif and his aides – want the elevation of a candidate of their choice as party’s provincial president, a PML-N sources said.
On the other hand, senior leaders of the Punjab chapter are vying for slot none of whom enjoys close association with the elder Sharif’s group and are said to be trusted confidantes of Shehbaz.
Those include PML-N’s Provincial Secretary General Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal and Shehbaz’s son Hamza Shehbaz rated as potential candidates to head the N-League’s Punjab chapter.
Sources said the name of Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique is also doing the rounds for heading the provincial chapter.
Rafique, who is on close terms with the Punjab chief minister, was also a cabinet member of former PM Sharif.
However, Maryam Nawaz is said to be not in favour of Rafique heading the provincial chapter mainly because he is among those party leaders who oppose any future role for Maryam as party leader, sources said.
Some party stalwarts in the PML-N’s central chapter say that former PM’s wife and his daughter agreed to Shehbaz’s rise as PML-N president and in return, wanted a candidate backed by the ‘Maryam lobby’ to be placed in the province to head the party.
However, knowledgeable insiders in the provincial chapter deny the possibility, saying Maryam lacks any support base in the Punjab chapter as she solely focused at the centre when her father headed the party.