That Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is dissatisfied with the rest of the leadership of PML-N is not news to anyone in Pakistan who has not been living under a rock since 2013. Every child in the country must know by now that Mr. Khan does not see eye-to-eye with a few of his fellow party members, thanks to the lack of subtlety and grace with which he has resolved his intra-party conflicts over the past four years.
Nisar’s issue arises, undoubtedly, out of ambition and egotism. Evidently, he has been dissatisfied with the PML-N leadership – Nawaz Sharif, himself – over the lack of consideration he receives when it comes to critical portfolios. In 2013, for example, he was reportedly eyeing the Chief Minister of Punjab seat, proposing that Shahbaz Sharif be given the portfolio of the Minister for Water and Power. Nawaz Sharif not only dismissed his demands and refused to let him contest provincial elections on PML-N’s ticket, but also decided to let Khawaja Asif contest the election, instead. Khawaja Asif, of course, is Nisar Ali Khan’s archenemy within the party cadre, as the two themselves claim not to have spoken a word to each other for years. Nisar Ali Khan was later made the Federal Minister for Interior, a post that he held until recently, on account of his close relationship with the Army.
Speaking of archenemies, Nisar has also been at loggerheads with another important cog in the PML-N machinery: Ishaq Dar. It has long been believed that PML-N has factions within – despite Nisar’s dismissal of such claims – one of which is led by Ishaq Dar, while Nisar Ali Khan belongs to the other group. These two factions try to put the other down whenever given the chance, and therefore, the members of these respective groups try their best to avoid those of the other.
Nisar’s relationship with the former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, is also not a smooth one. The cracks first appeared in 2014, when Nisar Ali Khan turned the cold shoulder to PML-N’s former president. The catalyst in resolving that issue, and many others later, proved to be Shahbaz Sharif who flew the-then Interior Minister to Raiwind to have a face-to-face meeting with his elder brother, Nawaz. The root cause of the problem was reported to be the PML-N leadership’s treatment of Pervez Musharraf, the interference of “certain ministers” in the matters of his ministry, and in the lack of weight given to his opinion over critical matters, such as that of dealing with the Taliban. The issue was resolved back then, but Nisar Ali Khan seems to have turned a habitual, as his endless “issues” have resurfaced this year.
While his tantrums in 2014 could have been forgiven, those that he threw this year were completely and utterly a case of kicking the PML-N leadership when they are down. This year, Nisar Ali Khan chose the most tumultuous of times to throw his toys out of the pram. While his party was dealing with Panamagate and was looking to battle the eventual dismissal of the-then PM, Nisar was busy flashing his dissatisfaction with the party in front of the media. After being dismissed from the PM’s cabinet – owing, of course, to the dismissal of the PM himself – on July 28 this year, Nisar decided not to take up his portfolio in the PM-ship of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. While he did not discuss the reason behind his refusal to resume in his office, it is common knowledge that he did not want to serve under a man who was his junior in the party ranks. Since then, he has time and again appeared before the media to complain incessantly about the dissatisfaction he feels within PML-N, all the while claiming that he was not going to let his issues take the limelight while the party is practically in a rut (though he was doing just that).
His latest bombshell has appeared in the shape of an interview that he recently gave to a private television channel, in which the former minister of Interior vehemently defended the Armed Forces of Pakistan, declaring that they had no part to play in Panamagate or the dismissal of former PM, Nawaz Sharif, from the office. He had previously claimed to be proud of his personal connections with Pakistan Army – his elder brother, Gen. Iftikhar Ali Khan was a former Chief of General Staff of the Army – and had also called to punish those who malign Pakistan Army on social media. It appears that Chaudhry Nisar is reconsidering his position within a political party that has a long history of clashes with the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
So, what really is eating Chaudhry Nisar? As previously stated, given the timing of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s current tantrum, the primary catalyst of his latest tantrum seems to be ambition. He has previously shown dissatisfaction with the office given to him – he clearly feels his caliber is higher than that of Federal Minister of Interior – and the fact that the party leadership brutally overlooked him when choosing the next Prime Minister of the country, preferring someone he feels to be his “junior” in politics instead, seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The fact that he has chosen not to leave the party, despite his innumerable differences, shows that he still has high hopes for himself. Hence, the endless whining on the television.
However, let it be known to Nisar Ali Khan, that unlike PML-N’s leadership, the people of Pakistan have very little patience left for the drama queen that he is. If we wanted to watch constant complaining and whining, we would have switched over to drama serials a long time ago. We watch the news to steer clear of that territory – but God forbid, Chaudhry Nisar lets us have our peace!