LAHORE: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar is unlikely to make public his political differences with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership as he has been assured that no change in the chain of command of the federal government will be made against his wishes.

A senior official of the PML-N told Dawn on Tuesday that the change of heart came when Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called on Chaudhry Nisar and assured him that no minister “junior to” him (the interior minister) would be nominated as prime minister in case Nawaz Sharif is disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.

The official, privy to the development, said that Chaudhry Nisar had differed with the prime minister over plan of appointing any other minister than the interior minister as the “stopgap arrangement” if he (Mr Sharif) was disqualified.

He quoted Ch Nisar as saying that being opposition leader in the previous tenure of the National Assembly and being senior than his cabinet colleagues (for he has been in the federal cabinet since 1990) he has the first right to replace PM Nawaz.

He said the politician from Chakri was ready to forgo his right only for Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and threatened to resign from the cabinet otherwise.

The interior minister, who had also reportedly been against the way the government had fought the Panama case, had twice invited the media to announce his decision but deferred it in the last two days.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017

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