Nisar’s press conference was against Khawaja Asif. Rest was noise

Last four years of PML-N rule have been a never-ending saga of Chaudhry Nisar’s mood swings. He would get angry with the party leadership at the most inopportune moments and then reconcile with it after a meeting with the PM.

This time, however, it is different. He just doesn’t have the option to reconcile. After all, reconcile with who? Nawaz Sharif? He’ll be history by this time tomorrow. There’s no chance of him being allowed to carry on working except for a miracle. Is it some conspiracy? Well, it might just be. But let’s not get into this debate for now. For now, stick to the facts. And the fact is that PM doesn’t seem to be making it to Monday in the office.

But, on Monday, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz will still be the dominant force in the parliament. Nawaz Sharif may not be in power but the people who got votes in his name will still be ruling the country and for that purpose, they’ll have to choose a Leader of the House as well. And that’s where the problem lies.

Chaudhry Nisar, in the heart of his hearts, believes that he richly deserves to be the prime minister of Pakistan. He may just have said the opposite in his presser a few hours ago but that’s irrelevant. Many others in our civil-military establishment also feel that he deserves to be the PM. But the dominant faction within the PML-N doesn’t think so.

Shehbaz Sharif does have a soft corner for Chaudhry Nisar, but Nawaz has watched Baazigar. He knows how Sharma Industries were renamed Chopra Industries overnight when Vishwanath Sharma had gone abroad for a few days leaving the power of attorney with Madan Chopra. Vishwanath Sharma died a few days later and it took Ajay Sharma (Shahrukh Khan) 15 years along with countless murders and plots to rename it to Sharma Industries. And even he died in the process. Nawaz is obviously aware of how his ‘N’ can be changed to Nisar’s ‘N’ with the blessings of the ‘powers that be’. He doesn’t have another 15 years left in him to take back what politically has always been his.

So, Nawaz favours Khawaja Asif. Not because Asif is any less, or more, popular in the party but because Asif doesn’t have those connections in the right circles. Nisar, on the other hand, hails from a family of nine generals. Needless to explain it further. And Khawaja Asif is an old friend too, tried and tested.

It was reported in the media last week that PML-N had decided to pass on the premiership to Khawaja Asif in case PM gets disqualified. But Nisar and Asif are not even on talking terms for last several years. There’s no way Nisar would work under Khawaja Asif as his interior minister post Nawaz.

So what did Nisar do in the press conference today? He said some beautiful words for the PM, bragged about his loyalty, his discipline, his uprightness and his commitment with the party and democracy … and launched an attack on Khawaja Asif. Everyone, from Umar to his grandma, knew that he was hinting at the defence minister when he said that there is ‘one minister in the cabinet extremely corrupt – financially and morally’.

What’s more, he wasn’t alone. It was a concentrated effort against the probable future prime minister of Pakistan.

The first ‘breaking’ news that we saw today on TV was Firdous Ashiq Awan’s base allegation on Khawaja Asif having an affair with Kashmala Tariq, thereby alleging him of moral corruption. The next big thing was Usman Dar’s press conference against Khawaja Asif in which he said that Asif’s wife was a major shareholder in one housing scheme of Sialkot, thereby alleging him of financial corruption.

Then came Nisar’s icing on the cake. He just reconfirmed what the two PTI leaders had already said earlier today: Khawaja Asif is corrupt; financially and morally. 62, 63? And that is because he doesn’t want to work under Khawaja Asif. He has already made it clear on the party leadership, according to media reports, that he’d willingly work under Ayaz Sadiq or Shahid Khaqan Abbasi but not under Ahsan Iqbal or Khawaja Asif.

And that’s how it is. Today was an attempt to undermine the next prime minister; the last one we’re already done with. Pro PML-N journalists might be trying to play down the press conference but what Ayaz Amir said was absolutely the truth: “When they start mourning, PML-N will know that the last Stiletto in Nawaz’s back was Nisar’s”.

So no matter how much he brags about his uprightness and loyalty and affiliation with Nawaz Sharif and his love for democracy, we’ll always remember that he is a member of a family with nine generals.

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