ISLAMABAD - The deepening rift within the ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), has not only left Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in quandary over dealing with Pakistani Taliban insurgents but has also led to enormous confusion regarding the government's strategy to restore peace in the country.
Well-placed sources told The Nation that ongoing differences among Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the three most powerful ministers, have upset the Prime Minister and prompted him to intervene to resolve the issue without further delay.
Sources blamed three-member government committee assigned to negotiate with the committee constituted by TTP as bone of contention among three powerful ministers of Prime Minister Sharif's cabinet.
"It started with blame game among the three ministers that gradually led them to stop talking to one another," a source privy to the developments informed The Nation requesting not to be named.
According to the sources, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar criticised the nominees of the government committee who were basically persuaded by Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan to join the government-sponsored peace process.
On the other hand, the interior minister was flabbergasted when Prime Minister Sharif changed his role as focal person and made Irfan Siddiqi as focal person of the government side the very next day after his appointment as special assistant to the prime minister, sources said.
"This is precisely for this reason that Prime Minister Sharif has decided to dissolve three members committee," sources said, adding that both the defence and finance ministers also opposed the proposal of the interior minister to get Maj (r) Amir, one of the members of the government committee, appointed as governor of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The PML-N leadership had earlier promised the coveted gubernatorial slot of KP to former Chief Minister Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, one of the close confidants of Prime Minister Sharif.
Sources close to Chaudhry Nisar reject these notions, saying a powerful lobby within the ruling party is opposed to the interior minister for various actions he had taken that harmed their interests. On the other hand, Pervaiz Rashid, chief spokesperson of the prime minister and information minister, when contacted, dismissed the reported differences, saying difference of opinion in a democratic dispensation is a routine matter.
"I being the cabinet member always found these ministers talking and joking with one another," he retorted, dismissing the notions that there were any sort of differences among the cabinet members.
He also dismissed that there were any differences among the ruling party and its two coalition partners, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl)) and Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), over the national security policy, which has already been approved by the federal cabinet. He was of the view that the subject policy was being discussed in the Parliament which was very much part of the democratic practice.