According to his spokesperson the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will not be able to hold his press conference today due to an extreme backache. A complete bed rest has been recommended, however the Interior Minister should have recovered enough on Monday to give the delayed press conference.

This sudden illness and its equally quick expected treatment (one day of rest) add another wrinkle to the developing story of division surrounding the Interior Minister. Chaudry Nisar and Interior Ministry spokespersons have always claimed the news stories of a split in Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and rumors of a resignation were “inaccurate” and “only speculation”. The Sunday address was supposed to clear up the misconceptions and provide the nation reassurance that rumors were just that – rumors. The abrupt delay, coupled with the reports on most TV news channels that federal ministers Saad Rafiq, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Rana Tanvir Hussain met Chaudhry Nisar on Saturday to discuss his press conference and more, suggests otherwise.

Mr Abbasi, while denying that any such meeting was held gave his personal assessment of the situation, saying that there were no differences in the PML-N, and that “Nisar is going nowhere”. However there is precious little evidence to back his claims up, and in the case of the first half of his statement there is actual evidence to the contrary.

The Interior Minister has been blowing hot and cold with the central leadership during the whole Panama papers controversy and has kept himself pointedly separated from the public defense of the Sharif Family orchestrated by the rest of the top leadership. It now seems that the rift has extended to encompass other members. Throughout the development of this story, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made no friendly overtures to the Interior Minister and had not tried to placate him at all. Perhaps there has been contact behind the scene, but on the stage of public perception, both the Interior Minister and the Prime Minister are at loggerheads.

Does that mean that Chaudry Nisar will resign? The answer to that question has been delayed another day, but considering how things are poised at the moment it is fair to say that we can expect both outcomes equally likely. This is the worst time for Chaudhry Nisar to hold a press conference detailing his differences with the leadership. He would be a friend to the PM if he finally took to the podium to defend him. Resigning his ministry would only show the PM as further weakened.