Former interior minister and disgruntled PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar on Thursday issued a sharp warning to party supremo Nawaz Sharif saying that his daughter Maryam's "sharp tongue" was steering the party into a dead end.
Nisar, who appeared to have developed differences with the party last year following Nawaz's disqualification from public office, said that although he had removed himself from national politics, he remained involved in politics at a constituency level.
The former minister expressed regret that he had been the target of personal attacks originating from a very specific source.
"These personal attacks, which range from 'jokes' to sarcastic remarks, and even association with events which never transpired, are being used to target my identity," he said.
"The only pawn evident is someone who has no political or ideological association with the PML-N. A puppet does not dance on its own," he added.
He claimed to have exercised "extreme patience" dealing with the situation for the past year, adding that he had tried to avoid behaving in a way that could harm the party.
"When they could not find anything else, they went ahead and appointed certain journalists to ask predetermined questions to ridicule me," he claimed.
Addressing Nawaz Sharif directly, Nisar said: "A person does not bestow favours on others, it is God who does so. If you think you have done people favours, then you must also know that a lot of people have done you favours as well, and helped you get to where you are today. You must remain cognisant and grateful to them," he said.
"As for Maryam Nawaz, her sharp tongue is steering the party towards a dead end. I could respond to her in the same manner, but I still have respect for her family even today.
He went on to present a couplet: "Adab ki baat hai warna Munir socho tau, Jo shakhs sunta hai, woh bol bhi tau sakta hai. (It is a matter of respect, Munir, otherwise, just think, one who listens is also capable of responding.)
He cautioned that if such accusations continued being levelled against him by pawns, he retained the right to issue a detailed clarification.
Nisar, who has been at odds with Nawaz over the latter’s anti-judiciary and anti-establishment tirades, opted out of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's cabinet.
Since then, reports about the PML-N’s internal rifts have surfaced often, with Nisar going public against his party’s line on a few occasions.
Of late, the senior politician has been busy meeting voters and union council chairmen in his constituency in a bid to consolidate chances of his victory in the next elections.
The sidelined party leader's recent statement comes just days after he said at a press conference in Taxila that the time to publicly shed light on the issues straining his relationship with the PML-N "has come very close".