ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has convened an important meeting of the ruling PML-N’s Joint Parliamentary Party tomorrow (Thursday) ahead of the resumption of talks between federal government and opposition on Panamagate scandal.
Scheduled to be attended by all the ruling party’s legislators, including MNAs, MPAs and senators of PML-N chapters from all the four provinces, AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan and the federal capital, the meeting will map out a strategy to deal with the opposition on Panama leaks.
A meeting between government and opposition on Panamagate is expected in coming days. It will also discuss internal party issues including assigning of new portfolios to the AJK cabinet and proposed expansion of the federal cabinet.
The Joint Parliamentary Party’s meeting was last held in early 2014. Since then, the forum’s meeting has never been called to consult with the party lawmakers despite some huge political crises including the marathon sit-in of the PTI and PAT in Islamabad.
“It seems that Mian sahib has realised that it’s been quite a while since we last met like that,” said a PML-N central lawmaker, while talking to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.
“He finally wants to exchange notes with the party members,” he added.
The source said the PML-N Punjab chapter is of the view that federal government should adopt a tough approach towards opposition on Panamagate while some central leaders believe in the policy of ‘consultation’. These options are expected to be discussed in the meeting.
In addition, the option to expand federal cabinet by creating the slot of the PM’s adviser on Kashmir Affairs will also be reviewed. Through the said slot, the PM can directly supervise the AJK affairs by assigning this position to one of his trusted confidantes.
“If created, the said position will function alongside the federal minister for Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan,” the source added. The prime minister will also be hearing complaints of the central ruling party’s provincial lawmakers regarding the grievances they hold against respective party chapters.
These complaints reportedly include issues related to funds allocation, problems faced by local bodies in Punjab, reshuffle in the PML-N’s party portfolios at lower level, differences between some PML-N leaders and local administrations and bureaucracy in their respective areas and related issues.