After days of ‘will he won’t he’, it seems that the Interior Minister has finally made up his mind. Announcing his decision to resign from the Interior Ministry and the National Assembly on the day of the Supreme Court verdict on Panama, a visibly disgruntled Chaudhry Nisar said that “conspiracy is not in my blood, so do not think I will indulge in it.” After finding out that the decision was scheduled for tomorrow however, the Minister clarified that he would not be resigning this instant. Certainly, Chaudhry Nisar does not come across as a Machiavellian manipulator, but it is also undeniable that he was out-manipulated in the politics that played out in the wake of the Supreme Court hearings. The 45 minute long press conference was as much an announcement as it was a public venting out of frustration, but despite the definitive tone used by the Interior Minister, his retraction has ensured that the speculation is not dying down. Room has been left for other machinations to play out – perhaps intentionally.

The Interior Minister, a suitable replacement for Prime Minister in case Nawaz Sharif was disqualified – especially in his own eyes – was preempted and isolated by other parties coveting the spot. However, none if this would have been possible if his relationship with the Prime Minister has not deteriorated too. The ambitions and rifts inside the party came to the fore, and the Interior Minister could not compete. His exclusion from Cabinet meetings was the final straw, and his threatened resignation a last play.

But it seems that didn’t budge the Prime Minister. The upshot of all this is that the future of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is further shrouded in uncertainty; it will all come down to the verdict of the Supreme Court. Now added to the mix is the question of Chaudhry Nisar’s resignation.

Will the Prime Minister be disqualified? Who will replace him if he is? Who will be part of that Cabinet? These are burning questions, although we will not have to wait long for answers. Based on Chaudhry Nisar’s comments however one thing are clear; he will not stay as an Interior Minister in someone else’s cabinet. The answers for other permutations are less clear. Will he stay on if Nawaz survives as asks him to continue? Will he stay on if he is offered the position of Prime Minister till the election? Will he leave regardless of all this?

The following weeks will be pivotal for the PML-N. At the moment it is a party in turmoil being buffeted by winds of uncertainty. The makeup of its senior leadership, and its eventual stance on the coming election will all be decided in the next few weeks.