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Does US envoy's separate meetings with Maryam, Shehbaz indicate party split?

اپ ڈیٹ 15 اکتوبر 2021
US Charge d’affaires Angela Aggeler held meetings with Maryam, Shehbaz Sharif. The News
US Charge d’affaires Angela Aggeler held meetings with Maryam, Shehbaz Sharif. The News

Separate meetings on Thursday between US Charge d’affaires Angela Aggeler and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and vice president Maryam Nawaz have revised a debate about a split with the party.

Aggeler met with Maryam and senior party leaders at her family home in Jati Umra, videos of which were widely shared on Twitter.

The party also tweeted a video of Aggeler's meeting later in Lahore with Shehbaz and Hamza a few hours later.

The reason for the speculation stems from both Maryam and Shehbaz's presence in Lahore prompting questions on why the need for separate meetings?

The US envoy also met with PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto in Islamabad last month but her meetings with the Sharif clan have caused more speculations.

Dawn asked the PML-N's information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb about the reason for the separate meetings but she did not respond.

Aurangzeb was present at the meeting with Maryam as were party’s senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, senior leader Pervaiz Rashid, Khurram Dastgir and Tariq Fatemi. Their presence has also led to speculations about a split in the camp.

Dawn also noted a link between the two meetings and a comment made by MNA Javed Latif last month in which he made a remark indirectly about Shehbaz for being "on assignment" from the establishment -- a reference to the party president's comments suggesting a national government. Although the party issued Latif a show-cause notice, nothing came of it.

During her meeting, Maryam spoke on a host of issues from Afghanistan crisis and Pakistan's relationship with the US under her father's administration.

During his meeting Aggeler is said to have praised Shehbaz for his administrative steps taken when he was chief minister, according to a report in Pakistan Today.

Aggeler also met with Punjab acting Governor Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi and PML-Q MNAs Salik Hussain and Hussain Elahi at the Governor House in Lahore.

Many social media users took to Twitter to discuss the meetings between the US envoy and the Sharifs, especially the timing i.e. against the backdrop of tensions caused by the DG ISI appointment.

Some thought the US envoy was meeting the opposition because of Prime Minister Imran Khan's stance on US bases in Pakistan -- variations of this tweet were found in droves on social media.