ISLAMABAD - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also failed to convince Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan to bury the hatchet and reconcile with PM Nawaz Sharif, as Nisar has dug his heels deep on what he termed “principled stand”.
Shahbaz arrived here on his special plane to woo Nisar and had a detailed meeting with the estranged senior party leader and (once) one of his most trusted men in the party. PML-N sources informed that both the leaders discussed in detail the reservations of Ch Nisar.
The interior minister has been deliberately kept away from important party and political matters for quite some time. Even he was kept aloof from those affairs directly linked to his ministry. He wasn’t even consulted over the important matter of North Waziristan military operation.
Sources in government informed that the tiff was spinning into disarray because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also not seemingly inclined to defuse tension either by calling him (Nisar) for a meeting. Party sources revealed that the tension between Nawaz and Nisar is growing and could even lead to some extreme step by either side.
Nisar’s name is not on the list of participants of a meeting on national affairs called by the prime minister today (Friday) at PM House. All the important cabinet members considered close to Premier Sharif are invited to the meeting and the dropping out of interior minister’s name is meaningful, a senior party leader informed The Nation.
PML-N sources said that the body language of CM Shahbaz after one-on-one meeting with Nisar was that of a worn-out fellow and he even not stayed for Iftar with the interior minister at the Punjab House and left for Lahore. Soon after his meeting with Shahbaz, Nisar switched off his phone and also directed his staff not to through any call to him.
Sources further informed that the Punjab CM was due here on Wednesday but bad weather hampered his visit and he arrived on Thursday to calm down Ch Nisar Ali who is annoyed due to some party decisions and the indifferent attitude of the party’s chief towards him.
Sources in the party said that the main differences of Ch Nisar started with the party leadership with the issue of Gen(r) Pervez Musharraf’s case wherein his advice was altogether ignored and Kh Asif and some other cabinet members prevailed upon Premier Sharif. The opponents of Nisar are continuously pouring venom in the ears of Premier Sharif against him and finally they managed to create chasm between the two. Some of the people of this group, commonly known in the party as ‘Lahori-Kashmiri Group’, are also cabinet members and they are not even on talking terms with the interior minister, who too has a very strong lobby in the party.
Sources in the party said that the tension between Ch Nisar and the party leadership was simmering for quite some time and finally keeping the interior minister aside on the matter of military operation in North Waziristan proved to have worsened the ties. Sources close to Nisar said the minister also had serious reservations over extra softness shown by the party leadership towards Pakistan People’s Party as Nisar considered PPP as arch rival of PML-N which could ditch them at any moment.