Nisar's absence: trouble in paradise or Chinese whispers?

Published: April 21, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping sign ‘historic’ deals to usher in a new era of development in Pakistan, the man who would have to see these deals through has been conspicuously missing in action throughout Xi’s two-day visit.

The country’s top security czar Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan isn’t known to delegate his work, especially when it comes to high-level talks with key allies. Yet, the minister chose to spend the entire day yesterday at the Punjab House rather than meeting Chinese dignitaries and other senior cabinet members at the Prime Minister House, officials told The Express Tribune.

Read: Pakistan high on Chinese diplomatic agenda: Xi Jinping

On Tuesday, the interior minister did show up in the dying moments of the joint Parliament session, but he was not seen even shaking hands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. To make matters worse, the interior minister avoided desk thumping during the PM and Chinese president’s speech.

“He seemed in good health and had no important meetings lined up,” a senior official of the interior ministry revealed, perplexed over the minister’s decision to stay in the background during such high-level talks.

Nisar had been advised to brief a Chinese delegation headed by President Xi Jinping over security issues, including the proposed formation of a ‘special security division’ for Chinese workers attached to the multi-billion Pakistan-China Economic Corridor project, a cabinet member told The Express Tribune.

The premier had given the go-ahead to the interior ministry and asked Nisar to raise a 12,000 personnel-strong force with the help of the military to provide foolproof security to Chinese workers. However, both the interior minister and interior secretary remained absent in Tuesday’s meetings as well. “I’m stunned and shocked to find our senior colleague (Nisar) missing in today’s mega event despite repeated request by PM Sahib,” the cabinet member added.

Read: Economic corridor: 12,000-strong force to guard Chinese workers

Security issues remained the focus of talks between the Chinese president and Prime Minister Nawaz, leading many to enquire over the absence of the country’s interior minister. “Where is our security man in these security talks?” a cabinet member, who was deputed by the prime minister to host Chinese diplomats at the PM Secretariat, whispered to his colleague.

Another official claimed that the military’s ‘high-profile’ role in linking Gwadar to the rest of Pakistan and on to the western Chinese city of Kashgar, 3,000 kilometres away, may be the reason behind Nisar’s absence.

Read: Baloch ire prompts security fears for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

“I suppose Chaudhry Sahib thought he was sidelined on this issue. It’s the military, not the interior ministry that is formulating a security plan to secure economic corridor agreements,” he claimed.

A formal announcement about formation of special security was scheduled to be announced during the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival, he revealed, but it was later decided not to make it public.

An estimated 8,000 security officials have been deployed for the security of over 8,112 Chinese workers in Pakistan, security officials said .

However, the cabinet member did not confirm why differences had developed between the prime minister and Nisar. There have been signs of growing distance between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

The interior minister has remained absent from key meetings, particularly those on the Karachi operation, and it is learnt that he was not invited to these important huddles. An official said the PM wants to continue the Karachi operation with full force but Nisar also wants to take its credit.

Further, the premier was reportedly also not in favour of the interior minister’s reaction to UAE warning Pakistan of a “heavy price” over it’s ‘ambiguous views’ of the Yemen offensive. The minister had termed UAE’s statement as “unacceptable” and a “violation of all diplomatic norms”.

Read: Yemen turmoil: UAE minister’s threat prompts angry rebuke

“The interior minister’s absence in the ceremony hosted in honour of the Chinese president has given further credence to reports of differences between PM and Nisar,” the cabinet member said.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Saleem
    Apr 21, 2015 - 4:38PM

    I guess it is time for Nisar to leave and let Nawaz Sharif handles his own mess.Recommend

  • Drfaizanpervaiz
    Apr 21, 2015 - 5:04PM

    Come to PTI Mr Nisar. We are here to welcome you all the time!! Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Apr 21, 2015 - 5:38PM

    whatever, Nisar is doing good job for the last few weeks, we really wanted him to succeed stabilization the internal security of Pakistan.

    This may be due to his strong stance of matters related to sending troops to Yemen. Recommend

  • pakistani
    Apr 21, 2015 - 5:49PM

    The two sharif treat all their party members as their slaves. Its time for each and every party member to realize this and leave the party.Recommend

  • Patriot
    Apr 21, 2015 - 5:50PM

    When you are a controversial Government plus the PM Punjab and CM Lahore want to keep maximum ministries with them then this is bound to happen. May Karma treat you well!Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 21, 2015 - 6:24PM

    @Drfaizanpervaiz:

    Just like Ijaz Chaudry of Mandi Bahauddin who got disqualified for a fake degree or Javed Hashmi who left the fan boy party for those infamous reasons.

    BTW, is Ijaz Chaudhry still in PTI or has he been disavowed? One more word for your corny wish. Ch. Nissar has a big ego problem and he’ll as always sort out his differences with NS. At the same time, he knows the true worth of the Pajama Party a.k.a. PTI and never in a million years Ch. Nissar would dilute his impeccable political credentials for someone like Niazi.Recommend

  • reader
    Apr 21, 2015 - 7:06PM

    yes NS is only party boss because he has $14 billion abroad and no one else does, and of course this was stolen from country. all should leave this fraudulent and fake representatives of the peopleRecommend

  • adil salem
    Apr 21, 2015 - 8:53PM

    He wouldn’t join PTI as long as Ch Sarwar is in PTI. Also why would PTI need him when his grip is seemingly weakening in pindi division. One the reasons of his differences with PM is that he thinks he has been undermined in his region – candaidate se. Also tussle with unguided missile (a ministerial eunuch – not his fault though, he just does not have the capacity to handle one let alone handle two ministries) Khawaja Asif is not helping either.

    Mr Siddiqi it seems you have chosen ‘Butts’ over Niazis.Recommend

  • Weirdity
    Apr 21, 2015 - 9:43PM

    It’s really simple. Nisar has become baggage after he criticized the UAE guys. You will probably hear the news of his resignation soon. With the Arabs, they can criticize you but as a doth Asian, you can’t criticize them.Recommend

  • shahid
    Apr 21, 2015 - 11:47PM

    Would love to know about that ‘cabinet member’ , seems he is quite like minded to Express Tribune’s lakhani. Be rest assured Nisar will take down khawajas and with them two kings too.

    @AdnanSiddiqui: These days lot many siddiquis are in deep trouble, Umair Siddiqui, Hamad Siddiqui, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, even when Imran Khan is not in power. Harder times are surely following.Recommend

  • alpha
    Apr 22, 2015 - 12:58AM

    So! now what, PTI wants another hashmi
    Look what you people have done to Mr Hashmi,no one will ever think of joining PTI now.Recommend

  • Codewala
    Apr 22, 2015 - 1:06AM

    What ‘deals’? You mean the MoU’s?Recommend

  • Czar
    Apr 22, 2015 - 1:19AM

    Probably he decided it is better to stay away from a share in ‘Chinese Halwa.’Recommend

  • Mirza
    Apr 22, 2015 - 3:21AM

    PTI and IK must be drooling at the thought of yet another high value lota. He can take Hashmi’s plce. Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2015 - 6:19AM

    @Saleem: and its time for Nisar to grow up and lose the wig !Recommend

  • not too true
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:44AM

    Where is Ch Allah Dad…haven’t seen his off the cuff comments lately!Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2015 - 10:58AM

    This is time for the Chaudhary Nisar to say farewell to politics. He has had many ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ with the PM. However, what the citizens require is a person who works for the uncompromising and honest welfare of Pakistan. Salams Recommend

  • wiser
    Apr 22, 2015 - 11:58AM

    At least there is one man in PML N who has dignity and self esteem.Recommend

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