News Analysis |
Speculations are rife in the media that ousted Prime Minister (PM) Mian Nawaz Sharif has parted ways with his long-term lieutenant and maverick leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. Both parties are yet to address the issue and there is no official word on the much talked about difference.
The Central Working Committee (CWC) session was crucial as it was called to select the interim president after the Supreme Court decision of February 21 to disqualify Nawaz Sharif as party chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The senior leadership of the party disagreed over the unilateral actions of the former interior minister (Nisar), which were openly debated in the media. It is believed that newly elected interim president Shehbaz Sharif and ‘Quaid for life’ Nawaz Sharif had differences on his inclusion in the CWC session. Moreover, many other senior leaders also objected to inviting him to the meeting.
If things have escalated up to a point of no return is still unknown. Nisar always demonstrated himself as a principled politician and is often appreciated by opposition parties for his conduct and his advocacy of institutional supremacy.
But according to reports, Federal Interior Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, in particular, were of the view along with Shehbaz to invite Chaudhry Nisar but were unable to convince Nawaz. Contrary to these reports, others claimed that Nisar was a notable absentee because he did not come despite the invitation.
Mushahid Ullah Khan while speaking to the media said, we did invite him, you should ask him why he refrained from attending the meeting. Nawaz was not too pleased over Chaudhry Nisar’s public statements against his strategy and reportedly it was the very reason that persuaded him to not invite Nisar.
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However, Maryum Nawaz was quick to respond after the media discussed his absence in CWC and speculated over his future intentions. She tweeted and denied the reports being attributed to Nawaz and said, “The statement on media being attributed to MNS, about Chaudhry Nisar sb, is absolutely false”.
Responding to these gossip mills, spokesperson for Nisar released a statement that he will discuss his future plans with the media in a couple of days, but stayed short of endorsing any of the media claims. In his last press conference on February 10 in Taxila, Nisar declared that he was not prepared to work under the leadership of youngsters like Maryum Nawaz. Because ‘he is not ‘political orphan’ to call his juniors sir or madam’.
Whether Nisar will be able to secure the PML-N ticket and contest under the party’s flag remains doubtful. After his expected press conference in a day or two, the situation will be clear.
Similarly, in the past, he had been a vocal opponent of Maryum’s role in party decisions. On February 14, while addressing workers in Punjab house Nawaz said, “Where was the politician [Nisar] who had recommended him to return Lahore via motorway, instead of leading a rally via GT Road”. This reference by Nawaz in Nisar’s absence was a clear indication of a rift between the two.
Nisar responded to this criticism and clarified that the decision to go via the motorway was not only his but all of the senior party leadership, which was on board with this. It was the party leadership decision taken after consultation with at least eleven senior members including PM Abbasi.
Nawaz’s decision to not extend the invitation to Nisar on the all-important Central Working Committee (CWC) session held yesterday in Lahore was the direct implication of the latter’s rhetoric against the Nawaz’s post disqualification strategy.
Chaudhry Nisar openly criticized Nawaz over his post disqualification strategy in which he publically bashed the Supreme Court after the July 28, 2017, decision to disqualify him and opted for a confrontational approach and pitted the institution against each other after building up momentum during his visit across the country to play the victim card over his ousting. Given the significance of the CWC meeting and public criticism of party decisions from Nisar, it looks unlikely that the strained relationship between the two egoistic and narcissistic individuals will mend.
The senior leadership of the party disagreed over the unilateral actions of the former interior minister, which were openly debated in the media. It is believed that newly elected interim president Shehbaz Sharif and ‘Quaid for life’ Nawaz Sharif had differences on his inclusion in the CWC session.
Whether Nisar will be able to secure the PML-N ticket and contest under the party’s flag remains doubtful. After his expected press conference in a day or two, the situation will be clear. It may only turn out to be another isolation period, where Nisar when angry about the party’s decision, opted not to participate in the meeting.
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If things have escalated up to a point of no return is still unknown. Nisar always demonstrated himself as a principled politician and is often appreciated by opposition parties for his conduct and his advocacy of institutional supremacy. Given the situation, whether he will stick to his principles or opt to be a loyal servant to his ‘Quaid for life’ will depict his future political maturity and ascendance.