Nisar says he hasn’t met Imran in over a year

— Veteran politician says he isn’t in the game for short-term gains 

ISLAMABAD: Refuting rumours of him ending his political isolation by recently meeting the prime minister, disgruntled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said he hasn’t met his friend from high school in over a year.

Nisar, long-time PML-N stalwart with his association with deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif spanning well over 35 years, parted ways with the opposition party in 2019 — a decision he said he took according to his conscience.

He also contested the 2018 general elections as an independent candidate from four national and provincial assemblies’ seats in his hometown of Rawalpindi.

But his name started to trend on the internet and in the press after the joint opposition, including PML-N, submitted a requisition for a vote of no-confidence against Imran Khan.

Reports quoting sources close to the former minister claimed the prime minister has offered Nisar the office of Punjab chief minister — ostensibly to appease a group of estranged MPs led by former party secretary-general Jahangir Tareen who is demanding the removal of incumbent Usman Buzdar in return for staying by Khan’s side during the vote.

But in an interview with BBC Urdu, when asked to comment on the reports, he said he “does not switch parties for short-term benefits”.

He said he ran for the House in the previous election as an independent candidate and will remain so for the time being. He further declared he “was not in a hurry to join [any political party] now”.

Asked to comment on his rumoured meeting with the prime minister, Nisar said he has been in his constituency for the “last three or four days” and asked how he could have met Khan.

“Where did we meet and if no [such] meeting took place in the last week, month or even year?”

He said he did not meet people behind closed doors and even though Khan was an old friend, their politics were poles apart.

The former minister also dismissed the report of him participating in the Sunday power show of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, saying he has not received any invitation and neither does he plan to attend it.

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