- Former minister says he will go public with grievances very ‘soon’
- Insiders say Nisar might take a solo flight in upcoming polls
ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and estranged Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday dropped a strong hint at his intentions of leaving the party and said that the time has come to go public over his grievances with the party leadership.
Addressing a presser in Taxila on Saturday, Nisar said that it is about time that he publically shed light on the issues straining his relationship with the PML-N leadership and added that “you won’t have to wait much longer on this”.
His statement came as a surprise for political observers as after recent election of Shehbaz Sharif as the new president of the party, it was being believed that Nisar would be tamed due to his proximity with the younger Sharif. However, Nisar has made it clear that differences were beyond repair.
During the presser, the former minister reasserted that the PML-N should refrain from confrontation with the state institution.
Asked whether his narrative is different than that of the PML-N, Nisar asked: “What is the PML-N’s narrative?” I have a stance rather than a narrative which is the non-confrontational policy with the state institutions, he went on to add.
Sharing his stance, Nisar said he believes the party should not move towards conflict with the institutions. He was referring to the recent confrontation of the PML-N leaders, especially former premier Nawaz Sharif, with the army and judiciary
“It is my suggestion to Nawaz Sharif, that we should not move towards fighting with the judiciary, state institutions,” he went on to add. The PML-N should compete with its political opponents, rather than fighting with the state institutions, he said, adding that his advice was in the interest of Nawaz Sharif as well as the ruling party.
In a reference to the Supreme Court’s Panama Papers verdict, which had led to Nawaz’s disqualification in July 2017, Nisar said whatever relief the party was seeking regarding the judgment could only come through the apex court.
The former interior minister also talked at length about his speech on Friday in the National Assembly regarding the government’s failure to place the Sharif family on the Exit Control List (ECL). “Certain sections of media did not report my speech properly,” he added.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA Naveed Qamar in the National Assembly had questioned why the name of former premier Nawaz Sharif had not been put on ECL yet. Qamar questioned the procedure for putting someone’s name on the ECL.
Responding to this, Nisar said that the policy regarding putting someone’s name on the ECL had changed. “During my tenure, people’s names were put on ECL even after a domestic dispute.”
A committee of the interior ministry makes the decision on whose names should be put on ECL now. The roles of interior secretary and other ministers have been finished in this regard, said Nisar.
He remarked that the ECL committee should make its decision on merit, adding that the recommendations made by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should be reviewed and then implemented.
Nisar, pointing towards Qamar’s remarks, said that the reasons behind this contradiction should be disclosed. “Why is one person’s name put on ECL but not the other person’s?” he asked.
The former interior minister and former close confident of the elder Sharif said that he was handling matters developing over the past few months silently and had decided to stay away from the new cabinet led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Sources in the ruling party told Pakistan Today that Nisar has been quietly working on a plan to contest upcoming elections as an independent candidate. He also shared a survey conducted in his native constituency with his close friends, which suggested that at least 70 per cent of the area voters wanted Nisar to contest the next elections as an independent candidate.
The sources further said that the ruling party had also tried to locate some candidates in Ch Nisar’s constituency but failed to find a suitable and strong candidate capable to defeat Nisar.
In a recent chat with a selected group of journalists, Nisar had shared a list of chairmen of 25 union councils of his constituency who had pledged to support him with or without the PML-N at his back.