WEB DESK: A contest in the ruling family for the PML-N leadership has begun, so stated a well informed source within the PML-N on condition of strict anonymity. The top contender for the post of the party leader in the older generation is Shahbaz Sharif.
There are no major differences between the two brothers and on issues where the two differ particularly in relations with the establishment and the direction of the economy Shahbaz Sharif, over time, has learnt to differ to his older brother.
However there are sharp differences between the two brothers on who is best suited to hold the mantle once the older generation is no longer available to provide guidance with the two top contenders being Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz. A senior leader of the PML-N told Business Recorder on Thursday that both the families, of Nawaz and Shahbaz have been grooming their children, Maryam and Hamza, to lead the party in the coming years.
“The rift within the family was quite visible in the wake of the Panama leaks when Shahbaz Sharif and his family remained tight lipped for some time on the issue,” he said. Shahbaz Sharif’s wife Tehmina Durrani added fuel to the fire of family discord when she stated that the prime minister and his family should bring their assets back home and spend the money on welfare of the masses.
He said that it is not decided yet as to who will lead the party, Maryam or Hamza, but the latter appears to be more capable due to his links with different political families and leaders in Punjab and understanding of pros and cons of the elections.
“Hamza is considered to be the de facto chief minister Punjab and he has also played a key role in awarding party tickets in the 2013 general elections and the by-polls held later in different constituencies of Punjab,” he said. Shahbaz Sharif himself has been grooming Hamza as the next party leader and the latter remains involved in almost all issues including governance, bilateral relations with friendly countries like China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and important negotiations with other political parties on different matters.
On the other hand, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz wants to see her daughter Maryam Nawaz as the next leader of the party and potential candidate for the premiership, he said, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has begun grooming her by assigning important official tasks, handling the bureaucracy and meetings with important foreign functionaries. She however has no exposure to backbenchers and was therefore unable to handle the “mini revolt” during the time the Prime Minister was in London.
A bureaucrat who works in the Prime Minister’s Office, however, said candidly that Maryam Nawaz doesn’t have the required capacity and mettle to run the party or hold a public office: “She is merely handling social media teams and some television anchors to counter the PTI and push her own party agenda and that too not very successfully,” he said.
He said that Maryam knows little if anything about constituency politics and prefers to stay away from big political gatherings of the party. “She may be good at managing things in the office, but I doubt her ability to rally the required public support to lead the party,” he said.
In the Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has emerged as the political heir of his mother though initial reports were that Asif Ali Zardari was grooming his youngest daughter Asifa for the role. In case of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, there is no single heir of the party and it may split into different factions after Imran Khan.
“If the PTI succeeds in holding fair party elections, then it may emerge as a democratic party and a potential successor of Imran Khan can also be chosen beforehand through vote,” said a party leader.
Source: Business Recorder