Source: Daily Times
LAHORE: Although politicians earned a good name through the 18th Amendment, the “democrats” among them closed the door for democracy within their parties as parliament passed the clause on intra-party polls unanimously, according to sources.
PML-N stalwarts Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Khawaja Saad Rafique narrowly escaped show-cause notices for violating party discipline when they voted against Clause 6 of the amendment bill, which has done away with political parties’ obligation to hold intra-party elections. The PML-N’s defunct information secretary Ahsan Iqbal told Daily Times he was unaware of any notice, and said Javed Hashmi violated the party line just to score a point and Khawaja Saad Rafique got emotional while supporting Kashmala Tariq.
However, party sources said a notice was withdrawn when the party high command found that Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Captain Safdar, was guilty of a similar violation over Clause 3 of the bill on the renaming of NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.
Ahsan Iqbal dispelled the impression that in the presence of the Political Parties Act, the 18th Amendment could bar political parties from holding intra-party elections. He said Javed Hashmi stated so to pose as a champion of democracy. However, the sources said Political Parties Act would also be amended at an appropriate time.
Meanwhile, Khawaja Saad Rafique said he did not violate the party line, and opposed the clause because of his “conscience”. “My father, Khawaja Rafiq, sacrificed his life for democracy, and I cannot support any undemocratic clause,” said Khawaja Saad. He blamed the reforms committee’s “negligence” for not involving the clause in the constitutional package, and said Waseem Sajjad had assured him he would raise the point in the Senate. He said the leadership had no problem and the support for Kashmala was ideological.
The sources said while loyalists had persuaded Nawaz to serve a notice on Hashmi and Saad, they had been deprecated by “judicious elements” within the party. The “judicious” quarters have said that any such action would send the message that the party leadership was discouraging democracy and promoting dictatorship in case of dissent. The sources said that following heated arguments, the high command decided not to serve the notices. However, both Saad and Hashmi have been declared rebels.