Nawaz Sharif summons party meeting, important decisions to be taken today

LONDON: A high-level meeting of ruling PML-N will be held in London today (Wednesday) to discuss important issues of national affairs with party’s supremo and former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was due to leave Islamabad for London yesterday night and will land Heathrow Airport this morning.

This will be the first meeting of Shehbaz Sharif with his elder brother after becoming prime minister on 11th April. He will consult and seek advices on government’s day-to-day issues. “Important decisions related to holding general elections and some other decisions are expected to be taken in the meeting”, the party sources said.

Federal Information Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed at a press conference in Islamabad yesterday the departure of premier and PML-N delegation. “The delegation will consult with Party’s supremo and this a normal process of consultation”, she added.

A file picture poses former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif and supreme of PML-N and present premier of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif discussing the national issues.

The Party sources said that Nawaz Sharif has summoned an urgent meeting of the party’s leadership in London. The party sources further said that the former prime minister has to consult the party leadership over some important issues he has reservations over and the PML-N is expected to make a “big decision”, which is why Nawaz rejected the proposal to have an online meeting.

Federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb, Saad Rafique, Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Dastagir and others are expected to leave on Wednesday. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is already in London.

The party sources further reported that during the meeting, a discussion regarding the strategy on the prices of petroleum products will be held with Nawaz Sharif and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

The discussion holds special importance as a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to begin talks with Pakistani officials on May 18 in Doha. Moreover, decisions regarding power-sharing, the next general election and the Punjab cabinet will also be taken during the meeting.

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed on Tuesday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be travelling to London as part of a PML-N delegation to meet party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside Power Minister Khurram Dastgir, she noted that several media channels were airing the news that PML-N members were going to visit Nawaz in London, which she said the government’s opponents were blowing out of proportion.

“PML-N members are going on a private visit to London to meet with Nawaz Sharif,” she said, adding that PM Shehbaz would also be travelling for this purpose.

However, the minister appeared to downplay the matter by saying that the process of consultation was not unusual among political parties. “This is not that big of an issue but those who have nothing to say and nothing to show for their performance […] have found a topic.”

Strong exception

Marriyum Aurangzeb Tuesday said the Federal Cabinet took strong exception to the continuous transgression of the Constitution by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Niazi.

The constitutional posts of president, governor, speaker and deputy speaker were disrespected and misused at Imran’s whims, and that was tantamount to an attack on the Constitution, she said while talking to the media after the Federal Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

ISLAMABAD: JUI Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Flanked by Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir Khan and Minister for Law Azam Nazir Tarar, she said the cabinet discussed constitutional violations of the PTI leadership and directed the law minister to take measures for preventing recurrence of such transgressions. Violation of the Constitution would not be tolerated at any cost, she vowed.

The information minister also emphasised that a PML-N delegation was going to meet with Nawaz for consultations, which was an ongoing process. One source in London said that the premier would be travelling with five or six ministers late on Tuesday so that he could arrive by tomorrow morning.

The source added that PM Shehbaz would remain in London for two to three days to meet with Nawaz. However, the source was not privy to the names of the people who would be accompanying the prime minister.

Separately, a PML-N leader — who wished to remain anonymous — said that it was “accurate” that PM Shehbaz would be travelling to London. So far, the exact purpose of the trip remains unclear.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presiding a meeting of Federal Cabinet in Islamabad on Tuesday before departure to London.

Nawaz Sharif, who is convicted in a corruption case, has been living in London on the pretext of ill health since November 2019, when the Lahore High Court had allowed him to leave the country for four weeks for medical treatment after Shehbaz, his younger brother, gave an undertaking that the senior Sharif would return within the stipulated time. Later, Nawaz sought extensions to prolong his stay in London on medical grounds.

Last month, Nawaz had also conducted meetings with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who was later appointed Pakistan’s federal minister.

The two had agreed to implement the left-out clauses of the Charter of Democracy (CoD), signed by the two parties some 16 years ago and to finalise a roadmap for the future with the consensus of all democratic forces.