TAXILA: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday reiterated his stance that PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif should avoid confrontation with state institutions — the military and the judiciary, in particular.

He was addressing a press conference at the Kohistan Secretariat in Taxila, and was accompanied by MPA Umer Farooq, PML-N tehsil president Fayyaz Khan and Shaikh Zeeshan Saeed.

“Avoiding confrontation with state institutions is in the best interest of Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the political process,” said the PML-N’s estranged leader. “My stance is that we should not engage in a fight with the judiciary or the army,” he said.

Justifying his stance, Mr Nisar said that he stuck to his view on the matter because any possibility of relief from the current political crisis could only come from these institutions. “Therefore confrontation is not a wise option.” He added: “My stance is that we should compete with our political opponents, not fight with institutions.”

The PML-N leader revealed that he had also shared this stance with the previous cabinet and with his party’s central executive committee. He asked rhetorically if he had violated his party’s disciplinary code by recommending this.

Responding to various questions regarding his disagreements with the party leadership, Mr Nisar said he believed in discussing his problems within the party.

He said he had, time and again, clarified that there was no forward bloc or separate group (in the PML-N), and neither would there ever be in the future. The former interior minister also talked at length about his Friday’s speech in the National Assembly regarding the government’s failure to place Mr Sharif’s family on the Exit Control List (ECL).

He said that some sections of the media had misconstrued his point of view, and clarified that a committee of the interior ministry had the responsibility of taking a decision regarding names to be placed on the ECL. The interior secretary and other ministers no longer played a role in this regard, he said.

When asked about his association with the party, he said there was no doubt that he was a member of the PML-N, and added that he would closely observe the political developments and announce his course of action in May, ahead of the general elections this year.

When a journalist asked him if he would contest the election on a PML-N ticket, Mr Nisar quipped that the media would learn about that soon.

Responding to a question about why former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s name had been taken off the ECL, Mr Nisar said that was done on court orders.

Discussing the state of local politics in his constituency, the PML-N leader said this was his first visit after the fresh delimitation of constituencies announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He promised that the Wah General Hospital would be inaugurated in the coming or next week.

Reminiscing about his entrance into politics, Mr Nisar said he had set out on this journey in 1985 from NA-140 and the constituency had remained undivided till 2002.

That was when it was divided into two constituencies as a conspiracy to keep him from winning, he claimed.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2018

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