LAHORE - After coming into power Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has failed to keep the tempo of holding Central Working Committee (CWC) meetings which the party did before the election, particularly when it was up against the PPP government.
The PML-N constitution mandates party president to convene the CWC at least once in three months, though he is competent to call it as and when he deems it needful. But the PML-N since it took over in June last, failed to abide by this constitutional requirement and has not held any CWC meeting in 10 months of its rule at the centre, Punjab and Balochistan, where it has an allied government.
But, a similar position is of the second largest party, PPP, which also has hardly held any CWC meeting during its new stint of power in Sindh and its assuming the role of opposition at federal level. The party had a host of issues which needed input and consensus of senior members of the party.
In contrast, other parties particularly MQM, PTI, JUI-F and JI (which has shoora as the supreme consultative body) hold a good record of convening their central party bodies.
As for the PML-N, it however has been holding frequent informal meetings of the party stalwarts at Model Town or Raiwind to the convenience of the Party President and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The top party members discuss and take decisions on the vital national, political and party matters. The number of such informal meetings is perhaps highest than any other party yet their proceedings did not command effect of a formal CWC meeting.
Not holding the CWC meeting may not mean belittling significance of the party but it certainly impresses upon public mind as if the party is being pushed behind in decision making and things have come into hand of a certain smaller group of people. Political parties anywhere in the world stand on high pedestal even if they rule the country exclusively or rule in coalition with others. In the socialist countries including China the value of party meeting is even more than the government parleys and its decisions precede all others. Even in India, which have a governance system much like ours, the party presence is got felt through regular Executive Committee meetings.
The N-League CWC comprises not less than 15 and not more than 40 members of the party council while the president and general secretary of the federal capital, provinces, AJK, Gilgat Biltistan, Fata and all specialised wings are its ex-officio members. President of the Party has a big say in the formation and delegation of power in the Committee which has to deal with a large number of affairs including passage of resolutions on the issues pertaining to political moves in the national landscape, administration and financial management, discipline, elections and subordinate level organisation of the party, and many others.
During the PPP government the PML-N CWC was the most active under the chairmanship of Nawaz Sharif who since return from exile in Saudi Arabia in November 2007, did not join the parliament till May 2013 polls and fully concentrated on the party. Then the PML-N CWC held marathon meetings after ouster of prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani from the premiership by the Supreme Court in April 2012 and later in June the party CWC discussed the agenda of pressing the PPP government to mid-term elections.
Even before the Senate election in March 2012, the CWC actively took the government to task on corrupt practices, loadshedding, price hike, favouritism and called the public out on the streets against this situation and raised protest in the parliament. The CWC also discussed grand alliance and months before the May election it framed election strategy, which perhaps was its last meeting.
When contacted, a senior parliamentarian and member of the PML-N CWC told this scribe that the CWC meeting, which has to discuss internal and external situation as well as policies matters, has been delayed due to hectic schedule of the prime minister as he has been awfully busy in tackling pressing national issues. However, he said the prime minister has asked for convening the CWC and the meeting will be held soon. He said the party secretary general is on bed after a road accident and as soon as he recovers, the meeting would be held.