Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the odd man out, has earned the reputation of a person who cries with low, plaintive and broken sounds. Consider: he did not have any revelations to unveil at his much-awaited presser last Sunday, although the conduct of this Jaat from Chakri is said to be guided by deep ethics-a rare commodity insofar as the approach of our politicians of different hues and brands to politics is concerned. Negating what he says “all rumours” about his parting ways with the PML-N or the Sharifs, he describes the reason behind his decision not to accept any slot in the Cabinet of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as “difference of opinion”. But he would not explain what actually constitutes that “difference of opinion”. How ironic however it is that this decision of his gives him the audacity to indulge himself in a bout of self-praise by stating, “I am grateful to Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for trying to convince me to join new cabinet but I feel I have a difference of opinion. Tell me, isn’t it an honourable way for a person to disassociate himself over a difference of opinion? In Pakistan’s history, how many people have resigned on a point of principle?” Then he tries to hide himself behind the party’s current woes by stating that “there is always a reason but I cannot reveal it at this point in time because the party as well as its leadership is facing a difficult situation [following the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case]”.
Chaudhry Nisar, the former interior minister who has been replaced by another Jaat but from central Punjab, has targeted, albeit indirectly, his adversaries in the party with his response to the issue of Dawn Leaks that continues to raise its ugly head quite frequently by saying that all those who purportedly played a role in that unfortunate controversy are “dishonest”. But here too he would not like to “identify” the person or persons in the greater interest of his party but strongly imply that it was the handiwork of the then information minister Pervez Rashid who, unlike him, does not lay claim to any constituency in Punjab or elsewhere to nurse legitimate ambitions of becoming an MNA or an MPA.
That the PML-N is heading towards a split is a grim prospect for the Sharifs in particular. A seemingly alienated Chaudhry Nisar, who is plausibly considered a link between the civilian setup and the military establishment, has nonetheless thrown up an opportunity for the “disgruntled” lot in the PML-N to re-evaluate their position in the face of seemingly unfavourable circumstances ahead of the 2018 elections. It is not known whether or not all the incumbent PML-N MNAs will be reclaiming their seats or whether or not the PML-N will be securing majority of seats in the upcoming elections, but the re-election of Chaudhry Nisar appears to be a strong probability owing to a variety of factors, including his strategy to maintain position on moral high ground and be viewed by his peers and others, including the military establishment, as a bold politician of exemplary ethics.