LONDON   -   Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz yesterday became powerful Vice Presidents of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) amid a contingent of VPs.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif issued a notification in London regarding the massive reshuffle after consultation with Nawaz Sharif - the party’s supremo.

All the 16 vice-presidents were nominated. They included Maryam Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz, Pervez Rasheed, Rana Tanveer, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Abid Sher Ali, Miftah Ismail and Mohammad Zubair. Maryam and Hamza would understandably be the powerful VPs among the team.

The decision came after the PML-N surrendered two important parliamentary positions due to Shahbaz Sharif’s expected long stay in London for his medical treatment.

The notification said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been appointed senior vice president of the party while Ahsan Iqbal was made made the party’s general secretary. Marriyum Aurangzeb remains the secretary information and spokesperson of the party. Ishaq Dar has been given the responsibility of president International Affairs Committee of the PML-N.

President Shehbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ishaq Dar will also be members of the PML-N Economic Advisory Council.

Rana Sanaullah and Ovais Laghari were appointed president and general secretary, respectively, of the PML-N Punjab.

Earlier in the day, Shehbaz Sharif visited the Pakistan High Commission in London. He verified three authority letters and his medical report regarding his stay in the United Kingdom.

First letter was for the replacement of chairman Public Accounts Committee and second for the change of the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, whereas, the third letter was related to his representative for cases against him.

The PML-N leader held several meetings in London pertaining to political and legal matters. He also submitted its medical report for verification which mentions his scheduled medical examination for the next six weeks. The documents were sent to verification by Commonwealth Office and later Sharif’s witness Afzal Bhatti signed the papers.

The PML-N had nominated Rana Tanveer as Shehbaz Sharif’s replacement to chair Public Accounts Committee on May 2. Khawaja Mohammed Asif has been nominated as parliamentary leader. Asif was nominated parliamentary leader by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

“Khawaja Asif has been made parliamentary leader on the request of Shehbaz Sharif,” Abbasi said.

Last year, Sharif was elected chairman of the parliamentary committee unopposed after the PTI-led government conceded the coveted post to the president of PML-N.

Shehbaz Sharif had left for London on April 10 to see his grandchildren vowing to return soon.

 

PML-N TO DECIDE MY RETURN: SHEHBAZ

 

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif will not return to Pakistan until the party gives him a green signal, PML-N sources said.

Close aides of the younger Sharif - the opposition leader in the National Assembly - told The Nation that the party had already advised him to stay in London until his health improves.

“We are not scared of the fake cases but we also don’t want our leadership to be humiliated while they are in need of medical treatment. Shehbaz Sharif will return when we are satisfied he is in good health,” said a close aide.

Another PML-N leader in London said Shehbaz Sharif had extended his stay in the United Kingdom on medical grounds. “He wants to return (to Pakistan) as soon as possible. He has some medical appointments so he has delayed return to Islamabad,” the PML-N leader maintained.

Reports said the legal team of Shehbaz Sharif had advised him to prolong the stay till the details about the ongoing money laundering inquiries arrive.

The PML-N President has a medical test on May 8 and could spend the entire fasting month of Ramazan in the UK. Since his family including son Hamza Shehbaz are already in London, Sharif may celebrate Eid in London and consider returning afterwards in consultation with the party leaders.

National Accountability Bureau inquiries are the biggest hurdles in Sharif’s return and he does not want to face those cases in a bad health.

“The party will decide when he should come back. It could be any appropriate time. We are not running away,” said a PML-N leader who met Sharif last day.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s review petition seeking an extension in his six-week bail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

Reports said the PML-N was divided over any anti-government campaign. One group that includes Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khawaja Muhammed Asif, Rana Tanveer and Javed Latif supports anti-government movement.

The other group that comprising Mushahidullah Khan, Barjees Tahir, Malik Riaz and others believes the party should wait for the right time.