*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 and former close confident of the elder Sharif said that he had been 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.
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.