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Chaudhry Nisar is seeking explanation for his exclusion from the PML-N's meetings: Chaudhry Nisar spokesperson

27 July, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Serious differences within the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came to fore on Wednesday as estranged party stalwart and Minister for Interior Ch Nisar Ali Khan publically warned the party leadership over his ‘exclusion’ from the consultation process and even sought a clarification.

Hours after a prolonged meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, an interior ministry spokesperson, speaking on behalf of Nisar, dismissed media reports that efforts were being made to appease the interior minister who was reportedly angry with the PML-N leadership.

“The truth is that the interior minister had adopted a contrary stance on some important issues in the PML-N’s internal meetings, after which he was excluded from the consultation process,” the spokesperson said, adding the interior minister has sought an explanation from the party leadership over his exclusion from the PML-N meetings and wants to know if the decision was made due to his contrarian position or some other reasons.

“Mr Prime Minister, only a miracle can save you,” Ch Nisar had reportedly told Nawaz Sharif at a federal cabinet meeting called earlier this month to discuss the joint investigation team (JIT) report submitted to the Supreme Court besides carving out future strategy of the party to deal with the emerging political scenario.

While other participants of the meeting thumped desks to welcome PM’s announcement that he had no intention to resign in the wake of the damning JIT report, Ch Nisar bluntly told him to ‘see the writing on the walls and take a decision on the matter keeping in view the ground realities and the serious problems he and the party was faced with’.

The prime minister, who apparently got irked with Nisar’s remarks, told the interior minister that he should have talked to him in private instead of delivering a speech in the meeting. The interior minister left the meeting soon after completing his speech and had never been seen in any of the important meetings since then.

In its statement, the interior ministry spokesperson further said that unless a clarification is provided, “it will be difficult to resolve problems in a positive manner.”

Earlier in the day, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held a meeting with Ch Nisar Ali Khan in an effort to convince him to set personal difference aside and stand by the party as well as its leadership in these testing times.

Ch Nisar on Monday had postponed for the second time a much-awaited press conference – where he was likely to discuss his conflict with the party leadership- due to a suicide attack in Lahore that left at least 26 people dead and scores others injured. “I had planned to discuss many points today … but in light of Lahore explosion, it will not be possible for me to talk politics, I am sure you all will agree,” Nisar had told reporters in brief chat at the Punjab House on Monday.

Shahbaz Sharif reportedly told Ch Nisar that internal differences could be better taken care of at the party level and that discussing them in public will bring no good for either side. He reportedly told Nisar to either call off his press conference or, at least, avoid criticising the party leadership if he decides to go ahead with his plan to address the media.

Ch Nisar reportedly told Shahbaz that he was not parting ways with the party but that he was very much distressed over a fetid atmosphere created against him by several federal ministers who were close to the prime minister. Reiterating his stance over the Panama case and the joint investigation team’s probe into Sharif family’s offshore assets, the interior minister said he was deliberately kept out of the consultation process on such important matters.

Appreciating Ch Nisar for his services for the party spanning over three decades, Shahbaz assured him that all of his concerns will be addressed in an amicable way through mutual discussion at the party level, sources said.

Shahbaz also told Ch Nisar that he would brief the prime minister on issues discussed during the meeting upon his return from an official visit to Maldives.

The late-night outburst by interior minister came amid reports that Shahbaz Sharif had succeeded in convincing him not to go public with his grievances. However, the statement issued on the behalf of interior minister has exposed the actual state of affairs within the party.

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