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Nawaz Sharif should not think only of himself: Chaudhry Nisar Ali

31 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan claimed on Monday that an overwhelming majority in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) differed with ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s policy of “confrontation” with national institutions.

In an informal chat with beat reporters at Punjab House, MNA from Rawalpindi implicitly urged his party chief not to think only of himself, and called on him to provide guidance to the “idle and rudderless” party on how to gear up for the 2018 general elections.

“I am in constant contact with party leaders and I know that an overwhelming majority of the party does not want a confrontation and are looking to the party high command for guidance on a future course of action,” he said.

“Unfortunately, personal interests are being prioritised over the party. This will not only be harmful for these individuals, but also for the party. We have to overcome this state of uncertainty,” he said.

Chaudhry Nisar, who has made no secret of the fact that he has been excluded from the party’s internal consultations, did not attend a top-level meeting held in London on Monday.

Clad in his signature beige shalwar qameez, Chaudhry Nisar said he had left the government on the basis of this policy of confrontation, adding that now everyone in the party was saying that they should not be confrontational towards the judiciary or its decisions.

He avoided giving a direct answer when asked whether an overwhelming majority within the ruling party was demanding the replacement of Nawaz Sharif, saying: “This is a secondary issue; first we have to choose the path down which the party will proceed”.

But party insiders say that Chaudhry Nisar has advised Nawaz Sharif to step down as PML-N president and nominate someone else to lead the party.

Meanwhile, another senior PML-N leader and Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan told reporters in Parliament House on Monday that there was no PML-N without Nawaz Sharif.

“Neither the party nor the government can function without Nawaz Sharif; he is the head of the PML-N and can call the ministers anywhere for guidance and consultation,” he added.

Chaudhry Nisar admitted there was a difference of opinion within the party, with some in favour of giving a tough response to the judiciary, and others advising against confrontational politics.

“The situation facing the party is worse than what happened in 1999, when former dictator Gen Musharraf toppled the Nawaz second regime,” he said, but insisted once again that there was no possibility of a split or forward bloc being formed in the party.

Urging his party chief to save the party and not to drag it into a “worse situation”, he said: “It should be the duty of Nawaz Sharif, as well as each and every PML-N worker, to save the party and not to think about personal interests. Criticise the decisions of the courts within limits, and go into appeal if you disagree with any decision. But there is no need to fight with other institutions.”

When asked about the recent souring of civil-military relations, he said he did not want to get into exhaustive detail on the subject, but admitted that the latest confrontation began with the Supreme Court’s formation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate Panamagate.

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