Although estranged senior PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar was unable to take oath as a Punjab assembly MPA yesterday due to the absence of both the speaker and deputy speaker, his willingness to do so after three years of silent absence from the country and its politics, is a significant development. Not one to shy away from conflict, Nisar has typically spoken his mind and done things his way, sometimes in defiance of his former boss, ex-PM and PML-N supremo Mian Nawaz Sharif’s wishes. His re-entry into active politics cannot be ignored simply because of the fact that he has not made this move to become a mere MPA and comes at a time when the PTI government is facing a number of threats and challenges from within the party and opposition. The emergence of Jehangir Khan Tareen’s (JKT) group, a collection of disgruntled PTI MPAs and MNAs served as a stark reminder of the fragility and composition of this government to Prime Minister Imran Khan. JKT-group’s primary objections are against Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and its decision to carry out any agitation in the Punjab Assembly coupled with Mr Nisar restarting his politics from the same province does not seem like a coincidence and it will become clear in the coming days if it leads to any changes in the top cadre of Punjab’ government.
So far, there has been a deafening silence from the PML-N camp over Mr Nisar’s return. It is no secret that Mariyam Nawaz, who has been effectively and quite successfully leading the party in the absence of her father and uncle, does not get along with Chaudhry Nisar at all. Their many spats leading up to the 2018 general elections forced Mr Nisar to exit the party. Since his release from jail, Mian Shehbaz Sharif has taken the reins with Ms Nawaz taking a back seat. Both Nisar and the younger Sharif believe in taking the conservative approach when dealing with the establishment and are otherwise good friends as well. This change in guard is likely to have a serious effect on the power struggle within the PML-N. An obvious change in strategy is evident and it includes maintaining better and cordial relations with the establishment.