ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday chaired a top-level party meeting of his close aides in an apparent bid to appease an aggrieved PML-N top leader – Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
During the meeting, the country’s overall political situation also came under discussion. The premier sought cooperation in the current challenges being faced by the government, including the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan, internally displaced persons.
The meeting also discussed Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s threat of launching a ‘million men’ long march in Islamabad on Aug 14 if the government fails to accept within a month his demands relating to fairness of elections.
Reports of rifts in the PML-N have been circulating in the media according to which differences had developed between the party leadership and Federal Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held two meetings with Nisar to calm him. Reportedly, Nisar was kept out of loop when the government decided to call an end to peace talks and launch Zarb-e-Azb operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). This did not go well with the interior minister who has distanced himself from official matters for the last few weeks.
While the party’s leaders have been continually contradicting the reports of rift, no denial has so far been issued by Nisar Ali Khan.
When the party leaders met Nisar Ali Khan during the last many days, the party leadership claimed that they had gone there to inquire after the health of the minister, who had not been feeling well for a month. Prior to his reportedly ill health on June 10, his frequent absence from the pre-budget cabinet meeting as well as the entire budget session in the National Assembly has speculation about his existing disagreements with some senior cabinet members on policy issues. Internal sources believed that Interior Minister was annoyed with the PML N top leadership over the different issues.
His serious differences with cabinet colleagues particularly Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif, and with Ishaq Dar have alienated Chaudhary Nisar from the decision-making process given that the prime minister has overtly sided with his defence and finance ministers. Sources said that interior minister being unhappy over the government’s handling of the case of Pervez Musharraf, the minister was also stressed out over non-allocation of funds for the internal security policy.
The meeting in the PM house attended by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Federal Information Minister Pervez Rasheed, Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch ,Minister for planning Ahsan Iqbal among other party leaders and advisers.
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