LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s efforts to improve relations between two estranged friends — Nawaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan — appear to have borne no fruit.
After a 90-minute meeting with Chaudhry Nisar at Model Town here on Sunday, Shahbaz rushed to Jati Umra and held a meeting with his elder brother (Nawaz) and apprised him of the reservations of the former interior minister.
“Mr Shahbaz is trying to become a bridge between Nawaz and Nisar to improve relations between them. However, Shahbaz’s fresh effort could not bear fruit. It was expected that after a meeting with Nisar, Shahbaz’s immediate rush for Jati Umra to see the party’s supreme leader might produce some good result in this regard, but it appears that there are still some hurdles to overcome,” a PML-N insider told Dawn.
After meeting former minister, Punjab CM rushes to Jati Umra to update brother; Marvi Memon supports ‘dissenting voices’ in party
This was Chaudhry Nisar’s third meeting with Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore during the last one week. After his April 2 meeting with the former interior minister, Shahbaz had restrained other party leaders from issuing any statement on the issue.
However, the PML-N president’s instructions could not be followed in letter and spirit as Maryam Nawaz recently declared that the decision to award party ticket to Nisar was a prerogative of her father (and not that of the party president).
At this, Chaudhry Nisar asked who had asked for a party ticket as he had never applied for a ticket in his political career spanning over three decades. “I have no intention to do so in the future either. I pray to Allah Almighty not to make me dependent on someone in this regard,” he said.
Chaudhry Nisar has time and again made it clear that he will not work under the leadership of Maryam. He said he would continue his association with the PML-N only if the party was not reduced to a housemaid (an apparent reference to likely takeover of the party by Maryam).
There is a common perception in the party that whenever Chaudhry Nisar passes any comment about Maryam, especially related to leading the party, he gets a sharp retort from someone associated with the Nawaz camp.
The party insider says Maryam, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif are against any move to restore Chaudhry Nisar’s old position in the party. “For Shahbaz, it is not easy to make Nawaz and Nisar sit across the table as both are egocentric. Even if Shahbaz makes Nisar agree to meet Nawaz (which reportedly he did today) it is difficult for him to persuade his elder brother,” he said.
PML-N leaders close to Shahbaz Sharif are optimistic that he will be able to bring them to a table in the coming days.
A party leader told Dawn that time was running out for Shahbaz Sharif to sort out this issue (of Chaudhry Nisar). “Shahbaz does not want to lose his close friend in the face of his (Chaudhry Nisar's) differences with Nawaz Sharif ahead of the election. In case of status quo or Nisar’s decision to quit, the PML-N will have a major setback,” he said.
Meanwhile, Benazir Income Support Programme chairperson Marvi Memon is supporting the ‘dissenting voices’ in the party.
“We expect our political parties to be democratic. But when difference of opinion is dared to be voiced one is asked to get out or considered sidelined. Instead of seeing wisdom of that difference and accepting the sincerity of opinion here lies tragedy of jee hazoori [flattery],” she tweeted.
Citing the sycophants in the party, Ms Memon said: “Who caused tough time and damaged the party are flying high and who is trying to sort it out... do not leave. Unbelievable how the ones who cost party death and dharnas (sit-in) and blocked roads still thriving n those who kept heads in their work without jee hazoori on sidelines. When parties go thru tough times you need those telling you bitter truth vs singing your praise close to you if you wish to win.”
There are rumours that Ms Memon may say goodbye to the party. However, she has dismissed these as baseless.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2018