While blaming Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for his dismissal from the post, former federal information minister Pervez Rashid advised on Monday the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to expel the ex-interior minister from the party.
Rashid was removed as the information minister on grounds that he failed to play his role effectively to restrain journalist Cyril Almeida from running a controversial story relating to national security.
In the story attributed to unnamed sources, Almeida had reported that in a high-level meeting on national security held on October 3 2016, civilian leaders had spoken about the ‘growing diplomatic isolation’ of Pakistan for lack of action against some militant groups.
The new report had whipped up a storm and while the federal government had repeatedly denied it as ‘fabricated and planted’, the top army brass had called it a breach of trust on national security.
“Chaudhry Nisar wanted to have me expelled from the party to appease someone,” Rashid said during an interview. “Some people wanted to oust me from the federal Cabinet.”
“He [Nisar] arranged the scheme of things in such a way that he was able to appease them,” he added.
Rashid went on to say, “I don’t want to name a particular institution but it was a group in the military whom Nisar attempted to appease with my ouster.”
Nisar, he added, shouldn’t be in the party and it is up to the leadership to make a decision in this regard. “If I’m asked, I will definitely say that a decision needs to be made on [whether] Nisar [should retain his party membership].”
According to Rashid, the former interior minister issued misleading statements against the party when it was facing a testing time [as the controversy came to the fore].
Meanwhile, responding to Rashid’s statement, Nisar urged Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to make the Dawn leaks report public.
“It is better that the report is made public so that the one making the statement [which resulted in the controversy] is exposed in front of everyone,” Nisar was quoted by his spokesperson as saying.
“Someone who has never run for councillor is acting like the chief of the party,” he said, adding, “I don’t even want to comment on someone’s remarks whose own affiliation with the party is only superficial.”