RAWALPINDI/TAXILA: Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a gathering of local PML-N leaders and supporters in Rawat on Thursday that he, not former prime minister Nawaz Sharif or the army, had been the one to started the operation to restore peace in Karachi.

“Due to my tireless efforts, terrorist activities stopped across the country and the terrorists were flushed out of the country, and people felt secure in their cities,” he added.

The estranged PML-N politician has announced that he will be contesting the upcoming elections from the National Assembly constituency of Taxila, NA-63, as an independent. He has also denied that he would consider seat adjustment with PML-N’s archrival, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

“Being interior minister, I fought the war on terror along with the Pakistan Army, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and the two former chiefs, retired Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani and retired Gen Raheel Sharif, are witnesses of the entire episode,” he told his audience at Jatta Hathyal, Rawat.

Zardari, Sharif and Imran have never visited Rawat, ex-interior minister tells public gathering

Mr Khan said he hated flattery in politics, and had always advised Mr Sharif to keep a distance from flatterers.

“I always speak truth, and even spoke truth before Gen Ziaul Haq, Mohammad Khan Junejo, Ghulam Ishaq and Mian Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

Criticising political leaders, he said Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan had never visited Rawat, but has a leader he had been holding rallies and interacting with Rawat’s residents for 34 years.

“I advise you to please show the infrastructure, schools and hospitals built by me in the area for the leaders of other parties,” he told the gathering.

He said that Thursday’s large gathering had proved he would win the July 25 election and defeat the electables and non-electables with the power of the people of Rawat.

“There will be more upsets in the upcoming general election,” he claimed.

In a closed door consultancy meeting at the Kohistan Secretariat with supporters the same day, Mr Khan exchanged strategies for the upcoming elections, as he has faced opposition from the local ranks of his own party after developing differences with the leadership.

Mr Khan has filed nomination papers for two national and two provincial assembly seats.

Insiders present in the closed-door meeting told Dawn that Mr Khan has refused to beg for a party ticket and has vowed to sweep the polls.

Sources privy to the meeting said Mr Khan has not announced his panel for the provincial assembly seats PP-19 and PP-20, and pledged to make the announcement during the next meeting after consulting friends and colleagues.

Sources said the local party supports have announced unconditional political and electoral support to him whether or not he contests on a party ticket.

The PML-N has not announced party ticket awards in any constituency so far.

A close aide of the former interior minister, Zeeshan Butt, has resigned as vice chairman of the Taxila Municipal Committee to join the race for PP-19. He filed his nomination papers and has joined the PML-N ‘ideological’ camp formed by PML-N district president Sardar Mumtaz Khan, an aspiring candidate for NA-63 against Chaudhry Nisar.

Mr Butt told the press that he has not been awarded a party ticket so far but that he had received the “green light” in this regard.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018