LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to placate an ‘angry’ Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a meeting at his residence in Raiwind on Saturday.
The interior minister is likely to get back in the saddle soon after a hiatus of one month or so.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif flew Chaudhry Nisar to Raiwind from Model Town by helicopter at 11am. In the first meeting, which lasted about an hour, Shahbaz was also present. After that Nawaz Sharif and Nisar had a one-to-one meeting, dissecting the matters that alienated the latter from the PML-N leadership.
According to sources close to the party, Nawaz Sharif had words of comfort for the interior minister. “You are my friend and an important leader of my party,” the prime minister said, in an attempt to win back the trust of an embittered Chaudhry Nisar.
Minister believes Musharraf case has not gone down well with the army
“The party cannot afford differences between its key members. The country is facing enormous challenges and needs your expertise,” a source quoted the premier as having reassured Nisar Ali Khan.
Nawaz Sharif also assured Chaudhry Nisar that there would be no interference in his ministry by any other PML-N member or minister. “[From] now onwards you will directly speak to me if there is any issue related to your ministry or policy making,” Nawaz Sharif told him.
But he did not fail to remonstrate with Nisar that “being an old and trusted member of the party, you should not have remained ‘angry’ for such a long time”.
The source said Nisar complained to the premier that his opinion on important issues like the Pervez Musharraf case and Taliban was not given any weight. Besides, he added, he could no longer put up with “persistent meddling” by some minister in the affairs of his ministry. The source said Chaudhry Nisar wanted Mr Sharif to show magnanimity in the case of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf as he was of the opinion that the matter had become a ‘bone of contention’ between the government and the armed forces.
Nawaz Sharif, however, deferred the issue for the next meeting, the source said.
Pictures released by the government media showed the two leaders talking to each other in a solemn manner.
The source said Nawaz Sharif told Nisar that he would arrange a meeting between him and other ministers, especially Ishaq Dar and Khawaja Asif, in Islamabad next week where he (Nisar) could speak out his mind to remove misunderstandings.
Earlier, Chaudhry Nisar had hinted at quitting the interior ministry and distanced himself from the party. Shahbaz Sharif got active and called on him in Islamabad twice and finally persuaded him to see the prime minister to sort out matters.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2014