Nisar announces exit from politics


Will give up NA seat, ministry on day of SC verdict; Politics in Pakistan has become a joke; Advises Nawaz to accept SC verdict; Calls for political stability to counter challenges hovering over country

Sophia Siddiqui


Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan is no taking any extreme step of resigning from the seat of the ministry of interior and the member of National Assembly, at least for the time being.
Addressing a much awaited news conference here on Thursday, the emotionally charged Nisar disclosed that he has decided to resign from his post and the National Assembly the day the Supreme Court announces its verdict in the Panama Papers case.
I was adamant to taken extreme action till last night, in fact till this morning. But pressure and love shown by friends. I decided not take any step until the Supreme Court verdict. I know that taking a decision at this time could hurt the party leadership and the government. But the day the decision comes, whether it is in favour or against, I will resign from the ministry and membership of the National Assembly. “
However, after the press conference, the interior ministry issued a clarification that Nisar’s statement regarding resignation was about his earlier decision to take an extreme action, which he had changed after consultations held with friends and those close to him. He added that he has gone tired of politics and does not wish to continue it anymore.
“My heart is no longer in politics,” he said. Nisar clarified that he will always stand in support of Nawaz Sharif, even if he resigns from the Assembly and the ministry.
Nisar used the platform of his press conference to deliver a message to the prime minister, emphasising that he is using this platform because he has been unable to hold a one-on-one meeting with the premier. He advised the prime minister if the verdict is in his favour he should ‘keep his feet on the ground’ and added that many will advise him to take harsh actions against others.
Nisar spoke of his 33-year association with the PML-N and stressed that he would not leave the party in this difficult time.
However, the minister stated that he was upset after being left out of PML-N meetings during the last month and a half. “For the past month and a half, I was excluded from the PML-N’s meetings. I do not know the reason for this.”
“I asked in the cabinet meetings if I had ever complained regarding any colleague.” He added that he was not invited to these consultative meetings and he does not attend if he is not invited.
Referring to a series of meetings before the press conference, Nisar said he had said in those meetings that he had made a decision and he would announce it. “Through out my life, I have spoken the truth to Nawaz Sharif. There has never been any duplicity or hypocrisy in my intentions. I am the devil’s advocate to Nawaz Sharif.”
“It pains me to say this, but when the PML-N faced its most difficult challenge, there was a conspiracy to remove me from the consultative process,” said the interior minister and added that some did not like what he said.
He questioned why he was criticized by those in the party when he had never said anything against any PML-N member. The interior minister elaborated that in the previously scheduled press conference, he had decided to address the issues of Dawn leaks, the army and jostling between the PML-N
“Four generations of my family have been in the army. But, there is a military mindset and a civilian mindset. I have always tried for a synthesis between the two.” The interior minister, alluding to a major threat to national security, pleaded the prime minister to accept the verdict of the apex court.
“These are very difficult times and very few know that a handful of people are aware of the threats the country face. I see very dark clouds surrounding the country,” he said. “There are two army men and two civilians who know of these dangers.”
Nisar also said Pakistan has been surrounded from all side and it is imperative for the country and the politicians to stay united. The interior minister stressed that the Panama case verdict will have to be accepted by the people and all political parties.
“If the people can be kept united, this will be Nawaz Sharif’s legacy.” Prior to the news conference, Nisar met with Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
This was the minister’s third attempt to publicly address the ‘differences’ that have emerged between him and the PML-N after the first two press conferences were called off.
On Wednesday, Shahbaz, along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, reportedly held a meeting with Nisar which lasted for several hours. The purpose of the meeting, held at the Punjab House, was to ‘reconcile differences’, according to sources.
According to sources, during Wednesday’s meeting, Nisar sought time to review his decision, while Shahbaz asked the minister not to take any extreme measures. Sources further added that Nisar was requested not to bring party affairs in the media as the chief minister assured Nisar that all his reservations would be addressed.

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