ISLAMABAD -  Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar has said that he sees Maryam as his friend’s daughter but can’t accept her as a political leader.

In an interview with Geo TV on Sunday, Nisar said he is certain that he can continue to peacefully coexist with both Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shehbaz, in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). “I was repeatedly offered a position in the newly formed cabinet but I declined the proposition,” he said. 

“I am the senior-most member of the PML-N after Nawaz and was many times given the option to become the prime minister but I don’t have any interest in designations,” he said, adding that he doesn’t have the temperament or tendency to make the kind of ‘compromises’ required for the job.

Responding to a question about his friendship with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, he said he has never unduly favoured PTI or Imran. 

“I was never included in the consultations about allowing the PTI to enter the red zone,” he said. “It was a decision taken by the government which added to my differences with the party.” 

When inquired about his opinion on the restoration of the sanctity of the vote, he said he firmly stands with Nawaz on this stance. However, he also said he didn’t agree with the approach that the PML-N and former prime minister has taken to do so. 

“Governance only, and not confrontation with the institutions, can restore the sanctity of the vote,” Nisar insisted, citing the example of the Turkish president who gained the public support on the basis of performance.  

He voiced his strong protest on the Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s statement — in response to the BRICS declaration — that Pakistan has made some mistakes in the past.

Talking about the civil-military relationship in Pakistan, he opined that mutual consultations can improve relations between the forces and civilian government.

“Even if my brother is appointed as the army chief, he will act in favour of his institution,” he said, emphasising that the army chief can never be a right-hand man of the government. 

The former interior minister said the country needed a united front to tackle international challenges.

Nisar said that a confrontation with judiciary will not yield any political benefits.

When asked about his support to the army, Nisar cited various incidents of speaking against the force each time it went against the policies of his government.

However, the former minister opined that unnecessary confrontation with the army can weaken the country’s position ‘which is not suitable.’

Responding to a question about the journey from Nawaz’s ‘trouble-shooter’ to his ‘troublemaker’ Nisar said, “I have only tried to resolve issues in the four years of our government.”

When inquired about allegations that Nisar was not Nawaz’s saviour but the individual responsible for trapping him, he denied the claims.

“The Dawn Leaks’ initial investigation report was given by the army and IB,” he said, adding that he was the only person who spoke in the government’s favour during that inquiry.

“I believe in stating the truth,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif never even frowned when I criticised policies and spoke the truth till 2013, but the past few years were different and resulted in the differences with him.”

He said that he always presented policy matters to Nawaz directly but since some time he was deliberately being stopped from doing so, adding that he spoke in the Cabinet following the changing situation.