Shah­baz Sharif elected pres­i­dent of Pak­istan’s rul­ing party


ISLAMABAD: The younger brother of de­posed Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif has been elected as the new pres­i­dent of the rul­ing Pak­istan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

The PML-N Gen­eral Coun­cil on Tues­day elected Chief Min­is­ter Pun­jab Shah­baz Sharif, who con­tested for the slot un­op­posed.

He was nom­i­nated as the act­ing pres­i­dent of PML-N in Fe­bru­ary by Nawaz Sharif who was barred from serv­ing as PML-N's pres­i­dent fol­low­ing a Supreme Court ver­dict.

“It is an honor for me to be elected as pres­i­dent of the party,” Shah­baz said. “I am thank­ful to Mian Nawaz Sharif and all the party work­ers for trust­ing me and pro­vid­ing me with this op­por­tu­nity.”

Shah­baz said that he has been serv­ing Pak­istan for the past 30 years un­der the lead­er­ship of Nawaz Sharif and would con­tinue his jour­ney with the sup­port of the peo­ple. “We will win the up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tion de­spite all con­spir­a­cies,” he said.

“Nawaz Sharif is still our leader and will re­main so in the fu­ture as well,” he said.

The PML-N pres­i­dent said that Nawaz Sharif was de­nied jus­tice in the re­cent cases against him, but ex­pressed the hope that he would “get jus­tice one day.”

Ad­dress­ing the Gen­eral Coun­cil meet­ing, Nawaz Sharif said that his party had elected Shah­baz Sharif as new pres­i­dent of the party un­der com­pul­sion.

“We have to elect Shah­baz Sharif as the party pres­i­dent for this sit­u­a­tion was cre­ated for us,” he said, list­ing nu­mer­ous de­vel­op­ment projects that were ini­ti­ated across Pak­istan when he was the prime min­is­ter.

“I will not back down from the mis­sion that I have cho­sen. It is part of my be­lief now,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif said that he would keep strug­gling to strengthen democ­racy and the rule of law in the coun­try de­spite the chal­lenges.

Sharif said that “re­spect the sanc­tity of the vote” would be the only man­i­festo of his party in the gen­eral elec­tions. “It means re­spect the man­date of the peo­ple. And I'll keep strug­gling for it.”

The for­mer prime min­is­ter said that he was fight­ing for the bet­ter­ment of the coun­try and the peo­ple and that was why he was be­ing pun­ished through fab­ri­cated cases of cor­rup­tion. He urged party work­ers to con­vert the gen­eral elec­tion into a ref­er­en­dum.

The PML-N has been fac­ing a lead­er­ship cri­sis since the apex court, in its July 28 Panama Pa­pers judg­ment, or­dered Nawaz's dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from pub­lic of­fice and he was re­moved as party head.

Talk­ing to Arab News, po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Tahir Ma­lik said that Nawaz Sharif had been try­ing to build a nar­ra­tive for the gen­eral elec­tions by crit­i­ciz­ing ju­di­ciary and other state in­sti­tu­tions.

“Shah­baz Sharif should try to come out of the shadow of his el­der brother if he wants to steer the party out of cri­sis,” he said.

“The PML-N won't be able to win the gen­eral elec­tion if its lead­ers con­tinue at­tack­ing the state in­sti­tu­tions in their speeches,” he said. “Pak­ista­nis won't like politi­cians who tar­get the armed forces and ju­di­ciary for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses,” Ma­lik said.

Pak­istani Chief Min­is­ter of Pun­jab Prov­ince Shah­baz Sharif, left, shakes hands with his brother and ousted Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif af­ter be­ing elected pres­i­dent of the rul­ing Pak­istan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party at the Gen­eral Coun­cil in Islamabad on Tues­day. (AFP)

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