LAHORE: In an uncanny development in Pakistan’s political chessboard, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique has allegedly expressed discontent with Nawaz Sharif’s narrative of civilian supremacy and naming General Qamar Javed Bajwa and General Faiz as the two people mainly responsible for the current mess by rigging 2018 elections to give the government to PM Imran Khan.
Leading English language newspaper The News reported on Saturday that a senior PMLN leader from Lahore has expressed discontentment with Nawaz Sharif and told the paper that he is not taking part in frontline politics of PMLN anymore because it’s extreme, counter-productive and “hot and cold”.
The Lahore leader told The News reporters that PMLN leaders were first told to support extension of Army Chief and now telling the nation that he’s the person who stole 2018 election.
As soon as the story went online, speculations started on who the unnamed PMLN leader from Lahore is.
Sources privy to these developments has confided to TPD Investigations Desk that Khawaja Saad Rafique has not been happy with PMLN leaders mainly because he thinks the party didn’t do enough for him when he was in jail with his brother Khawaja Suleman Rafique. Two senior PMLN leaders told TPD that the unnamed PMLN leader quoted in The News story is Khawaja Saad Rafique and that PMLN leadership is aware that Saad Rafique has been expressing his disagreements in meetings.
Khawaja Saad Rafique has allegedly quit active politics due to his disagreements with Nawaz Sharif and sources claim that he will not make any efforts to make PDM’s jalsa in Lahore a success.
The News quoted him as saying: “You are blowing hot and cold here. At one point you ask us to vote for him (the army chief) in Parliament. Now we are being asked to toe a different line; a hostile, non-conciliatory line. Would not the historian question us over this paradox?”
Khawaja Saad Rafique had earlier spent a long time in prison under the Paragon case but did not leave the side of his leadership.
“At one point you ask us to vote for General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Parliament. Now we are being asked to toe a different line, a hostile, non-conciliatory line. Would historians not question us over this paradox?,” Khawaja Saad Rafique allegedly said.
Making matters more controversial, Khawaja Saad Rafique issued a strong denial over this story, responding to a tweet by veteran journalist Murtaza Solangi.
Saad Rafique said, “solangi sahab ! ur source is entirely wrong before taking my name u should at least ask me as u hv my contact number wht ever i wannted to say always said openly and clearly it is not my style”.
Making matters more interesting, senior journalist, Abbas Nasir confirmed that he was also told that the man in question in the viral The News story was Khawaja Saad Rafique.
TPD examined the Twitter activity of Khawaja Saad Rafique and he has not written a single tweet in support of Nawaz Sharif, who is in London and has made ballistic speeches from there, or Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who is leading the anti-government movement from PMLN’s side. The Twitter profile shows that Khawaja Saad Rafique has almost completely stopped criticising Imran Khan and PTI government.
A source said that Khawaja Saad Rafique was worried about the cases framed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and has decided not to take an aggressive line.
PMLN sources close to Nawaz Sharif told TPD Investigations Desk that it didn’t matter whether PMLN members abandoned Nawaz Sharif during this tough time, reflecting that only those who stand with Nawaz Sharif will have a political future.
The PMLN source added that such people’s departure didn’t matter to PMLN. “The sooner, the better,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) has claimed that a forward block will be witnesses within the PMLN in the coming days and that many other PMLN leaders had expressed the same concerns in private conversations in recent days.