The four-member committee, headed by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, went into session at about the same time when the MNA from Islamabad “surrendered” himself at a police station in the capital after daylong negotiations between the party’s senior members and police officials.

The committee would send its recommendations directly to Mr Sharif. Other members of the committee are MNAs Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Hanif Abbasi and Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

Party sources said Mr Sharif was very upset over the incident that he believed had damaged his party’s image as the electronic media kept on running reports regarding the raids on possible hideouts of the MNA and arrest of the party workers involved
in the attack on the Shalimar police station from where he had managed to escape on Friday night with the help of armed supporters.

“Yes, it was a very tough day for us. We were not in a position to face the media and defend the act of Anjum Aqeel Khan,” admitted the party spokesman. He said there was a feeling in the party that Mr Khan had committed a “blunder” because in addition to facing fraud charges originally brought against him, he now would also have to face charges under the Terrorism Act for the attack on police.

He said the party leadership had shown leniency towards Mr Khan by not expelling him from the party in September 2009 when the MNA was found to be involved in an attack on a college teacher for denying admission to a student on his recommendation. The issue was resolved when the MNA apologised to the teacher, who pardoned him.

The spokesman said Mr Sharif was “very angry” on the latest incident and, keeping in view past examples, there was almost no chance that Mr Khan would be allowed to retain his National Assembly seat (NA-48) and get any support from the party.

Mr Khan is not the first legislator to have brought embarrassment to the party as in the past two years several PML-N MNAs and MPAs resigned from assemblies on the directives of the party leadership allegedly for committing fraud.

In 2009, a party MNA from Rawalpindi, Haji Pervez Khan, resigned from the National Assembly on the directives of Mr Sharif when an internal committee of the party found him to be involved in a case of impersonation. The fraud came to light when Pervez Khan’s nephew was arrested from an examination hall while appearing in the BA examination in place of his uncle.

The same year, a party MPA from Punjab, Shumaila Rana, had to resign from her assembly seat after a case of credit card theft and misuse was registered against her. Later, she was acquitted of the charges and alleged that she had resigned under coercion.

Last year, a number of PML-N MNAs and MPAs had to resign when the Higher Education Commission declared that their graduation degrees were dubious.

In an effort to save his party from further embarrassment, Mr Sharif had to ask the legislators holding fake degrees to voluntarily resign after the media highlighted that most holders of fake degrees belonged to the PML-N.

A PML-N MNA, Javed Hasnain, and an MPA, Rizwan Naurez Gill, both from Punjab, were declared ineligible by the Lahore High Court for having fake degrees.

Later, the party faced criticism for its decision to award a ticket to Naghma Mushtaq for the by-election for a Punjab Assembly seat from Multan to contest against the brother of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani only to lose it. Naghma Mushtaq had won the February 2008 elections on the PML-Q ticket and resigned from the assembly in the wake of her possible disqualification by the court for having a fake degree.