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RAWALPINDI: Disgruntled PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday challenged the ability of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and said he was not eligible to head the party in the 90s but “we made him the party leader”.

Addressing a public gathering at Chakri, the former interior minister said when the PML-N was established it had only 15 or 20 members.

“Nawaz Sharif was neither a senior member nor eligible to lead the party but we had no other choice.” He said either those senior party members left the party or Nawaz left them.

Mr Nisar said for 34 years he carried the burden of Nawaz Sharif. “I don’t owe him anything but he (Nawaz) is indebted to me,” he said.

“There are many things which I wanted to share with people about the inner politics of PMl-N and the role of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. But due to the critical health condition of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, I will not speak about it publicly.”

Analysis: Has Nisar put his political career at stake?

He said it was possible that he may part ways with Mr Sharif. “I never compromised on my principles nor I ever sold my conscience,” he said, adding he was answerable to Allah, the public and Mr Sharif.

Mr Nisar asked the young generation of his constituency to stand up for a change in society. He said July 25 would be the day of change and people would get rid of the traditional politics of non-eligible politicians.

During the address, ‘Go Nawaz Go’ slogans were chanted but Mr Nisar stopped the participants and said: “Those who say ‘give respect to vote’ asked me not to contest the election. But I will contest and will respond to my opponents on July 25 about this.”

Though the disgruntled PML-N leader launched his election campaign in different union councils of Rawalpindi’s rural areas last month, it was the first public meeting held in his native village of Chakri.

A senior leader of the PML-N told Dawn that the former interior minister remained in his constituency for the last one year inaugurating development projects launched by PML-N Punjab government but he openly spoke against the party leadership after the end of the government’s tenure and the announcement of elections.

He said last month Mr Nisar inaugurated a water supply system, public park, community hall and funeral prayer site near Chaklala worth billions of rupees and remained busy in his constituency to meet union council chairmen and local people which was also a part of electioneering.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2018