In an interesting but predictable development, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-M) Quaid Nawaz Sharif has begun to make his presence felt in government or administration spheres as, according to media reports, he chaired as many as three marathon meetings of Punjab government on last Monday alone.

Expectedly, Punjab chief minister Maryam Nawaz sat beside her father during these meetings at the Chief Minister’s Office in Lahore. In these meetings, Nawaz Sharif reportedly issued orders to ministers and officials regarding different infrastructure projects, including the underground train and metro bus, farmers’ plight, electric bikes for students and Ramazan package.

In my opinion, Nawaz, in fact, has come to the rescue of his inexperienced child to deal with the challenges facing the country’s largest and politically most important province. Maryam’s predecessor, interim Punjab chief minister Mohsin Naqvi who has now been elevated to the position of country’s interior minister, had really worked harder.

Like Shehbaz Sharif, he seemed to have earned the epithet of “Mohsin speed” because of his prolific performance, including an extremely harsh police action against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership and rank and file following the May 8 riots. In other words, Mohsin Naqvi had set a benchmark, and Maryam is unlikely to be matching it on her own.

Hence the need for a guide who can help Maryam navigate through the myriad political and economic challenges in the province in a satisfactory manner. But Nawaz’s overt participation in the Punjab government affairs has invited criticism as he holds no official position in either the provincial or federal government and is officially only a National Assembly member.

His critics are now asking whether or not he would be chairing government meetings in the Prime Minister’s House in the near future as well? In my view, it is quite possible. Be that as it may, regardless of the merit of the criticism, Nawaz cannot just sit idle mainly in view of the fact that the future of the federal government, which is led by his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, intrinsically hinges on the party’s performance in Punjab.

Needless to say, Punjab is the province where no ruling party can afford to be complacent even for one single day. In this regard, one must not lose sight of the fact that it is perhaps the only province where the electorates have thrown up the most divisive and polarized mandate through the Feb 8 general election.

Saleem Bokhari


Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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