The names of members of the newly-constituted CEC and the CWC were released to the media by party spokesperson Dr Asif Kirmani.
Interestingly, party president Nawaz Sharif’s name was not on either of the lists. In a second announcement, Dr Kirmani explained that Mr Sharif would be heading both committees as party president and Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq would be a member of the CEC and the CWC.
Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Mr Sharif, has also been made a member of the CEC. This is the first time that she has been officially assigned an important position at a party forum. MNA Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, is also a member of the new CEC. Besides Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, CM Sharif, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have also been nominated members of the CEC.
Several main political parties in the country, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), have smaller bodies named the CEC which they use to hold consultations and make important decisions regarding issues of national importance. Till now, there was no such forum available in the PML-N and the party leadership had had to struggle with convening meetings of the CWC due to its large size.
Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, who is also the acting secretary general of the party, told Dawn that the CEC had been created through an amendment to the party’s constitution made earlier during a meeting of its general council held in October in Islamabad to re-elect Mr Sharif as the party’s president.
Mr Iqbal said the party leadership had felt the need to create a smaller forum to make important policy decisions after realising how hard it was to hold regular meetings of the CWC, which has more than 80 members.
He said the CEC’s first meeting had been convened by Mr Sharif in Islamabad on Monday (tomorrow) to discuss the political situation in the country in the aftermath of the sit-ins by religious groups over the issue of a change in the Khatam-i-Nubuwat declaration for electoral candidates.
He said in the meeting, party leaders will discuss a future strategy on the implementation of the points agreed by the federal and Punjab governments in agreements with the protesters.
Other members of the newly-formed CEC are: Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif; Finance Minister Ishaq Dar; Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal; Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique; Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan; Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri; Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider; Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeeziur Rehman Hafeez; Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Birjees Tahir; and lawmakers Pervez Rasheed, Sardar Mahtab Ahmed Khan, Begum Ishrat Ashraf, Amir Muqam, Babu Sarfaraz Khan Jatoi, Asad Junejo, Irfan Siddiqui, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Chaudhry Sher Ali, Dr Asif Kirmani and Marriyum Aurangzeb.