Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday managed to convince disgruntled Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the two men will have a face-to-face meeting today (Saturday) in Lahore to resolve the issues between them.
Shahbaz Sharif has held three meetings with Nisar in the last four days, trying to woo the estranged leader.
“Today’s meeting would be held just to send a message that all is well. Whatever happens, Nawaz and Nisar cannot fall apart,” a PML-N source told Pakistan Today, adding that all rumours being made about Nisar considering to jump ship would end after the meeting. The source said that the differences between Nawaz and Nisar were purely over policy matters and there was no individual involved.
Another source said that there was no breakthrough yet but “the ice is melting on both sides”.
“If this relationship stays intact, the credit would go to Shahbaz who has worked relentlessly to remove the misunderstandings between Nawaz and Nisar,” the source said, adding that in order to keep the meeting details under wraps, Shahbaz had taken Nisar with him to Lahore.
Sources privy to the developments said that the PM had also arrived in Lahore over the weekend.
“The meeting is being held in Lahore to prevent ‘conspirators’ from further damaging the years-long relationship between Nisar and Sharif,” the source said.
“Nisar is not ready to digest the fact that his place has been filled by new advisers, including some members of the Sharif family, who do not like the senior PML-N leader’s arrogant attitude,” said the source.
The source added that Nisar will only return to the cabinet once his reservations are removed. “If his concerns are not addressed, Nisar will leave the party and resign from the federal cabinet,” the source added.
Nisar had tendered resignation from the federal cabinet in a meeting with the elder Sharif on June 14 over “interference and meddling” into the domains of his ministry by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
Nisar had also remained absent from parliamentary sessions despite messages from the premier, urging him to continue as a cabinet member.