Estranged PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday hit back at unattached politician Javed Hashmi for reportedly claiming that the former interior minister wanted to "please the establishment" with his recent criticism of Maryam Nawaz.
Nisar, on Thursday, had issued a warning to party supremo Nawaz Sharif, saying that his daughter Maryam's "sharp tongue" was steering the party into a dead end.
In reaction to those incendiary remarks, Hashmi — who was once a senior PML-N politician but switched to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf before becoming a free agent — had defended Maryam, triggering another round of war of words on Sunday.
Nisar, through his spokesperson, issued a scathing assessment of Hashmi: "A person who has been the minister in a military government should try and not act as the Aristotle of democracy."
"Javed Hashmi, in his political career, has switched allegiances many times. Perhaps, before levelling accusations at Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, he should have thought of his own statements that he had given in Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan's favour in the last few years."
Nisar said the politically isolated Hashmi through his statements is trying to get back into the good books of PML-N leadership — an attempt, he said, did not work before.
Rumours about Hashmi rejoining the PML-N had surfaced in December last year but no official announcement was made at the time.
"We understand that today Javed Hashmi is a political passenger whom no political party wants to give a seat in their train due to his fickle-mindedness and a lack of determination," read Nisar's statement issued on Sunday.
"To come closer to PML-N, he had first used anti-PTI statements and it seems that after failing with that attempt he is trying to use accusations against Chaudhry Nisar as his way of reclaiming the trust of PML-N leadership.
"Javed Hashmi must remember those statements that he made against Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family. If today he is in need of PML-N's platform, then he should not use Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan's shoulder."
Nisar told Hashmi that "he has complete freedom to do the kind of politics he wants but don't reach a level of sycophancy and flattery that is in contradiction to the truth and facts".
"Instead of levelling accusations at Chaudhry Nisar, it would be far better if Javed Hashmi, for his politics' sake, concentrates on his voters whose trust he has lost due to switching loyalties," he added.
Since the surfacing of Panama cases against the former prime minister and his family, Nisar has been giving statements against the PML-N policies and narratives, which the leadership believe are in violation of the party’s discipline.
Earlier, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, a senior leader of the PML-N, had told Dawn: “The PML-N will go to polls with its present narrative and Chaudhry Nisar, who is deadly against the party’s narrative, cannot contest the polls from the party platform.”
While hinting that Nisar might not get a party ticket in the next general elections, the former information minister had said that Nisar was acting against the present narrative of the ruling party. “His fate in the party will be decided by incumbent PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif,” he said, adding Nisar would have to decide if he wanted to continue with the party or part ways.