LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday convinced disgruntled PML-N leader and former interior minister, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, to stay in the party and play his role.

After a year’s long sour ties between Ch Nisar and the party, it is the first meeting with Shehbaz Sharif since he took over the slot of PML-N president on March 13 last. The meeting which was scheduled last week witnessed a lot of positive development to retain Ch Nisar in the PML-N which the former interior minister said is his mother party with 35-year-long affiliation.

The meeting which continued for about 45 minutes at the Model Town secretariat of the chief minister discussed various matters relating to the current political situation, the party and the next elections with particular focus on the grievances of Ch Nisar with the leadership.

Sources in the party say Ch Nisar expressed willingness to stay in the party with respect and honour and without being discredited by those who these days are close to the top leadership of the party and are speaking against him.

The sources say Ch Nisar reiterated his stance on adopting an agreeable relationship with the institutions and not undermining their position in the public speeches by the top and second-rate leadership of the party.

Media reports added the two leaders also discussed the issues relating to Ch Nisar’s acceptance in the party after he publicly made remarks against Nawaz Sharif’s narrative and his refusal to work under Maryam Nawaz.

The sources stated the chief minister wanted both Ch Nisar and those about whom he had reservations to avoid speaking against each other in the interest of the party and the next elections. They said the meeting concluded on a positive note.

It may be mentioned Ch Nisar is regarded by the political and the intellectual quarters as a close friend of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif with historically a big say in the party. However, a strain came in this relationship last year first after the Newsgate issue and later on the narrative taken by Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam against the army and the judiciary following the Supreme Court’s disqualification verdict against the former premier on July 28 last.

The situation aggravated in January last when Senator Pervez Rashid who had to quit his ministry on the Newsgate scam in the background of Ch Nisar’s statements contrary to the party line advised him to leave the party if he considered himself so ‘disciplined.’

A televised talk of Ch Nisar last week created the impression of his leaving the party when, replying to question on the possibility of getting ticket from the PML-N for the next election, he said the party was not supposed to decide about issuing him a ticket, but he himself was to decide the matter. Nisar told the TV channel he would decide in the coming week from which platform he was to contest the general election 2018.

He admitted he no more enjoyed as strong contact with PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif as it used to be. However, he said he wished to continue his affiliation with PML-N.

In this background, the present meeting between the two is very important not only for the party but more than that for deciding political direction of the former interior minister.

The party sources revealed Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif met his elder brother and former PM Nawaz Sharif in the evening and briefed him about his London visit and the meeting with Ch Nisar.

Imran invites Nisar to join PTI

(NNI adds): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan made a telephonic contact with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz senior leader Chaudhry Nisar and invited him to join his party. The PTI chairman said, “You have been a friend of the Sharif family for too long; it’s time for you to become our friend and join hands with me.” Imran made this telephone call after Ch Nisar’s strong stance appeared against Nawaz Sharif.

Reports say Imran told Nisar that Nawaz Sharif would not accept him in any case while Shehbaz Sharif prefers his brother Nawaz more to him. “When there are such strong differences, what are you waiting for? Both the brothers can never give the offices of prime minister and chief minister to anyone else,” Imran told Nisar.

“We are childhood friends, have studied together, I have a greater right to ask you to join my party,” Imran said.

Sources say many issues were discussed during the telephonic conversation. The PTI chairman said, “If you agree to join the party, I myself will come to you with a formal invitation.” Ch Nisar said: “You are my friend and I respect you, but I can’t leave the party I devoted my life to. I have some rules. I assure you that if I decide to leave PMLN, I will join PTI. I will be very happy over it because this party belongs to my childhood friend,” Nisar said. Imran said: “The general elections are around the corner, so you can decide it now.”

Ch Nisar said: “I can take very little or very long time to take this decision.” Imran laughed over it and said, “I do not accept this ‘late’ thing.”

Sources said after the conversation, Imran told his friends that Ch Nisar is my good friend and he will soon be a part of PTI because the two avenues have been closed for him in PMLN.

 

SAJID ZIA