Goodbye, Chaudhry Nisar. He is a politician who has remained a fixture in the PMLN line-up for decades, but has been unsuccessful in understanding how the times have changed. With predictable shrugs, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) has been seen to allow him space for dissent, and welcome him back once his mood improves. However, this time Chaudhry Nisar has chosen to finally call it quits — for reasons that will place him squarely on the wrong side of history.
A woman at the forefront of the party, an interview process to award tickets, the failure to ask Mr Nisar for his sage advice at every turn — these are the sins that Mr Nisar laments have been committed by the PMLN. The fact that Maryam Nawaz is one of the leading politicians of the PMLN shows how much the party has progressed, since its unfortunate days of crying foul of ‘Aurat Raj’. Mr Nisar’s recessive outlook fails to appreciate this development, he uses the past failure of Mian Nawaz Sharif and the PMLN as a taunt, and to mock its more recent and appreciable incarnation, with a woman leading the charge. Such an ideological gap is bound to create cleavages, and it is a relief in disguise for PMLN itself that members who fail to progress with the changes of the time are left behind.
Nisar refusing to appear before a committee to qualify for a party ticket is an affront to democratic values, a practice that the party has correctly tried to adopt. The debate around seniority ends where we witness even the party President appearing before the committee and being interviewed to be awarded a ticket.
Some pungent remarks directed at the Sharif family are perhaps the most unfortunate. This, by Mr Nisar, was an effort to raise suspicions on their character, with no proof offered; unfortunately, a trend that has seized the Pakistani imagination, to its detriment. To thunder at Nawaz Sharif, that he would not be able to “face the public” if Chaudhry Nisar spoke of all that he knew, are a contemptible effort to tar and malign. If Chaudhry Nisar found Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family quite so awful, one wonders what temptation led him to cling to the party they were heading for the last 34 years.
Perhaps Mr Nisar read the writing on the wall and understood that this time around he would not be awarded any ticket and it was best to just contest the elections as an independent. We wish him good luck; running for elections is a noble act.