Ch Nisar’s responsibility


PML-N’s self-inflicted wounds



While PML-N has a strategy, however controversial, to contain the Panama case fallout, there’s no telling how much round after round of self-inflicted damage will hurt the party in the run-up to next year’s election. Ch Nisar’s surely not doing his party’s new government, or the former prime minister for that matter, any good with his outbursts. The timing, as usual, is telling. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been doing just fine as PM so far. Defying expectations, there’s also been the odd hint of independence in policy making – taking fata reforms out of the cold storage just after Nawaz Sharif put them there, for example.

There’s also a full-time foreign minister, meaning a far more proactive foreign ministry than Nawaz’s four years. Also, the PM and FM have handled the standoff with the Trump administration, and implications of the recent BRICS summit, well enough to win visible press and public appreciation. But Nisar was not among those cheering; not when the cabinet was formed and certainly not as it got about doing its business. However, it was Kh Asif’s admission following the BRICS shock announcement – about the need to “put our house in order” – that seems to have really put Nisar off.

That following back-and-forth revealed deep-rooted issues between the PML-N top brass. It turns out that most of the senior minister’s in Nawaz’s cabinet were not even on talking terms. And while there are differences aplenty, Nisar never went along too well with anyone except Shahbaz Sharif and, to an extent, Nawaz. Now, he has issues with practically every ministry just when the government is engineering a crucial foreign and security policy overhaul. The initiative about banned outfits has been received well at home and abroad. Nisar’s criticism, in fact, seemed more in cue with arguments of “enemies of Pakistan” he is always so concerned about. Or perhaps he’s uneasy because a reset would radically depart from his own policy of accommodating, even hosting, some of the banned outfits? And the mysterious threat to the country that only four people know about should be, like the present interior minister said in the House, explained before parliament. Ch Nisar has had his say. Now he must take responsibility and walk the talk or stop attacking the government.