Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s recurring outbursts against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) decision-making process, believed to be under the pervasive influence of hawks, has further deepened the rift within the party that may lead to its breakup before the general elections, party insiders say.
In background interviews with PML-N parliamentarians, it was revealed that besides Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a group of more than 40 lawmakers of the party is also voicing its reservations at blatant disregard for their opinion in key decision-making and instead preference is being given to a handful of ‘hawkish’ advisers.
Nisar, who has virtually been sidelined in the party, announced that he would address a press conference today (Sunday) wherein he is likely to take on the “hawkish” advisers of Nawaz Sharif, besides announcing his own future course of action. The intensity of internal differences can be judged by the statement by former Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid who blamed Nisar for not helping the party in testing times, especially during the Dawn Leaks controversy and record tampering case in Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) with regard to the JIT investigation into the Panama Papers case.
Nisar, however, responded with a strong-worded statement, daring the former information minister to advise the government to make Dawn leaks report public if he considers himself innocent in the issue.
In the prevailing situation, sources said if Nisar bids adieu to PML-N, he may lead a group of the party’s dissidents and contest the next elections from a new platform. But it is unclear if he would be able to retain his seat in the constituency politics after quitting PML-N as in the 2013 general elections Nisar contested from two National Assembly seats [NA-52, 53] and one provincial assembly seat [PP-7], but won only from NA-52 and lost the other two seats to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates.
“Chaudhry Nisar is a seasoned politician and he still enjoys a lot of respect within the party ranks, but he would face the same fate as Javed Hashmi if he quits the party,” said a senior PML-N leader who requested not to be named. He said that Hashmi was well at one time but is nowhere in the parliamentary politics after quitting the party. “The party stands behind the leadership of Nawaz Sharif and a difference of opinion of a single individual in the party does not make any difference,” he argued.
To a question about dissident members of the National Assembly within the party, he denied any grouping in the party and dismissed it as “propaganda.” However, reports do indicate that a significant group of PML-N parliamentarians is annoyed with the senior leadership for not consulting it in key decision making such as the party’s strategy to deal with the Panama Papers case, and taking on state institutions especially after the July 28 verdict of Supreme Court.
They pointed out that there is resentment within the senior party leaders which is mainly because Nawaz Sharif is paying more heed to the new advisers, with his daughter Maryam Nawaz leading this group, and neglecting senior party leaders in the decision making process. Advisers are misguiding Nawaz Sharif on important issues and are responsible for not only the sorry state of the party but also for multiplying the legal problems of the Sharif family.