ISLAMABAD: The ruling PML-N has decided to submit to the Supreme Court verdict in the Panamagate case. The decision was taken in an informal consultative meeting of PML-N’s top cadres on Friday after a three-judge bench of the apex court reserved its judgment in the case.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over the session where attendees included his top aides and cabinet ministers, including Khawaja Saad Rafique, Ishaq Dar, and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
According to sources, Premier Sharif had plans to directly fly to Lahore after inaugurating Lowari tunnel earlier on Thursday and to spend the weekend there. But the strong remarks from Supreme Court judges on the last day of the hearing compelled him to return to Islamabad and consult his aides.
The legal team of the prime minister gave a briefing to participants about the hearing and the possible judgment.
The meeting rejected the opposition’s demand for resignation of the prime minister. The participants also rejected the idea of ‘resorting to extreme measures or disrespecting the judiciary’.
They assured the prime minister of their ‘full support’ and said government’s allies also backed the prime minister. “Nawaz Sharif is an elected premier and enjoys the support of his party and the people of the country,” they said.
The meeting expressed full satisfaction on the way the hearing in the Panamagate case was conducted and the arguments forwarded by the Sharif family’s legal team.
It expressed the resolve that the government would complete its constitutional term and “in case of disqualification of the prime minister, the option for an in-house change will be exercised”.
While briefing the participants, the legal team said there were slim chances of disqualification of the prime minister.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif reached Islamabad through a special flight to attend the meeting.
Moreover, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan did not attend the meeting because he was not satisfied with the ongoing consultative process and handling of the situation.
Depending on the court verdict, the PML-N has kept the option of in-house change open and names of party stalwarts – including Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi – are under consideration.blic events and official meetings in order to counter the opposition and give an impression that he was in command of the government, said sources. The ruling party would wait for the top court’s judgement before mapping out its future strategy.
Apart from that, the prime minister also met Mehmood Khan Achakzai, head of the PkMAP and the PML-N allies in Balochistan.
A brief statement from the PM House said development projects in Balochistan and political matters came under discussion during the meeting.