Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has refused to meet former interior minister Chaudhary Nisar after the latter arrived in London last night for a two-week visit to the United Kingdom.
Credible sources have confirmed that Sharif was approached by a mutual acquaintance to consider meeting the former interior minister sometime this week, but the former premier turned down the request.
Sharif is the de-facto chief of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, and Nisar was an important member of his party up until the two had a public falling out over political differences more than a year ago.
Senior PML-N leaders Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar, when asked to comment on the new developments, refused to publicly acknowledge or deny that contact had been made for a meeting between the two leaders.
Sources further claim that Nisar, who is considered a close ally of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, is not on good terms with his good friend because of the public spat the former interior minister had with Nawaz Sharif.
According to these sources, the former prime minister believes that meeting Nisar would send the wrong message out to his aides who had stood by him in tough times, unlike Nisar.
Rumours are rife that Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar may meet Nisar while he is in London, but this meeting will only happen if Nawaz gives his go-ahead. “PM-N supporters will rebel against leadership if Nisar is accommodated into the party again,” a source said.
‘Nisar did everything to damage PML-N’
“Nawaz Sharif is personally not meeting politicians, and focusing only on his health. Mutual friends approached him with the request to consider meeting Nisar to break the ice, but Nawaz Sharif politely declined,” the source added.
“Nisar attacked Nawaz Sharif’s daughter for no reason and became part of an agenda against his own people. Sharif believes Nisar did everything to damage PML-N and the Sharif family,” the source said.
Nisar flew to London with his wife through a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight (PK-785). He is expected to undergo medical examination during the visit and also hold political meetings.
More than a year ago, Nisar had developed differences with Sharif after saying he would never accept Nawaz’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, as a PML-N leader, after Maryam started taking a larger role in politics.
In interviews with the media at the time, Nisar had said that his advice was ignored by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and others, and a needless confrontation was started by the party with the institutions.
After his public spat with the PML-N, Nisar had not fared well in the elections of 2018, losing on the two National Assembly seats that he contested. Nisar won a seat in the provincial assembly, but did not take oath.
PML-N later claimed that Nisar lost because he didn’t have backing of the party. Upon his arrival at the Heathrow airport earlier this week, Nisar spoke to the media and said he was in London for his three medical appointments.
‘Trip is completely apolitical’
“I am here for my own medical treatment. My trip is completely apolitical,” Nisar said when asked whether he would meet the former minister during his London visit.
“I have three appointments and I will be focusing on that,” Nisar said in response to questions about a meeting with Shehbaz Sharif.
When asked about speculation that his name had been mentioned as the future Punjab chief minister. Nisar said: “Its for the people to decide. I am active in my constituency. I don’t want to respond to presumptions.”
While talking to the media at the airport, Nisar criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for the economic chaos and political instability in the country.
“Perhaps Pakistan faces more daunting challenges today than at anytime in the country’s history. It’s irrelevant who comes and goes. Political instability and economic meltdown are Pakistan’s biggest issues at the moment,” he said.
“There’s a political theatre going on in the country and all parties need to sit together to find a solution. I don’t see any solution of these two in the foreseeable future. Media knows fully well what’s going on in the country.”
Courtesy: Murtaza Ali Shah