‘Cannot even think of replacing Nawaz’: Shahbaz Sharif appointed PML-N president

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was elected the PML-N president unopposed on Tuesday.

Addressing a meeting of the PML-N General Council in Islamabad after his election, Shahbaz said he was glad to have been chosen as the party president but that no one, including himself, could even think about taking the place of Nawaz Sharif, who was removed as the party president by the Supreme Court but was later rechristened as the party’s ‘leader for life’.

“Nawaz Sharif can be considered the political heir of Quaid-i-Azam,” he said. “We are lucky to have been blessed with a Quaid [leader] like Nawaz Sharif.”

Shahbaz said today is “not a day to celebrate” because the world knows that his party’s leader has been “targeted”.

“I believe that one day this injustice will be rectified.”

The post of party president was left vacant last month after Nawaz was removed from the position by the apex court.

Shahbaz, who was serving as the party’s interim president, submitted his nomination papers for the presidency today.

He was the only nominee for the position of party head, but his victory was formally announced at the party’s General Council meeting in Islamabad, during which voting for the party’s president also took place, according to Law Minister and PML-N’s Chief Election Commissioner Mahmood Bashir Virk.

Many of PML-N senior leaders, including Shahbaz, Nawaz and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi were present at the GC meeting.

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

However, with the speedy passage of the Elections Act 2017 ─ which amended the requirements necessary for top party leadership to possess ─ Nawaz managed to retake party leadership. But he was removed again from the post after the court ruled in February this year that a disqualified person is ineligible to lead a party.

Mismanagement was observed at the polling venue earlier as party workers attempting to enter were prevented from doing so by security personnel at the Convention Centre.

Workers then resorted to violence, breaking glass doors at the venue, causing some workers and leaders to receive injuries.

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