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Maryam Nawaz met Hamza Shahbaz

18 October, 2017

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LAHORE: Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz sat on Tuesday face to face for the first time since the Panama Papers case rocked the country’s political landscape and led to the disqualification as parliamentarian of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, according to sources.

The two met at the Sharifs’ Model Town residence here, reportedly after the intervention of their elders.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ‘mediated’ between the ‘rival’ cousins. Hamza’s brother Suleman was also present on the occasion.

According to the sources, the chief minister urged Maryam to “observe a ceasefire” because any clash with the judiciary or the military would “be in the interest of neither the country nor the PML-N”.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has also asked Maryam to be careful in her remarks.

After the meeting, Maryam said she was surprised to see “the spin” the media had given to it. “I had gone to say Salam to my Uncle [Shahbaz Sharif] where he most lovingly treated me to lavish afternoon tea. Had good chat with him, my brothers Hamza, Suleman and other family members. Those who wish to drive a wedge will remain unsuccessful as always,” she tweeted.

“Confrontation among institutions is not in the best interest of the country,” Shahbaz said after the meeting. He also inquired after the health of Begum Nawaz and prayed for her early recovery.

Following in the footstep of his father, Hamza said clash of institutions would be harmful for the system. “Therefore, all of us should work together. I love my forces — army, Rangers and police. If any harm is done to Pakistan we cannot forgive ourselves,” he said and termed democracy the only way forward. “The solution to all problems is in democracy,” he added.

It appeared that Maryam had already been directed by her father not to take on the establishment and judiciary at least for the time being, he said. “After getting some serious message from the quarters concerned, Mr Sharif and Maryam have begun to observe a temporary truce.”

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