ISLAMABAD - The first major task for prime ministerial candidate, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, once he succeeds in assuming the office of prime minister, would be to search for his new interior minister as it is very likely that the former interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, will not take oath of office in the new cabinet.

After the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, Chaudhry Nisar met with his entire staff on Friday and after saying them goodbye, asked them to report back to the place of their original postings, an official of the Interior Ministry said.

Thus, the former minister gave an indication that he would not take oath in the cabinet of the new prime minister who would be elected as a stopgap arrangement.

Former interior minister had in his staff one deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, two SPs, an assistant superintendent of police (ASP), and an officer of the information group.

The official said that all officials had been surrendered to the place of their original postings in various departments on the orders of the ex-minister that he had given before dissolution of the cabinet.

According to details, Waqar Chohan, DIG Police, who was working as DG to minister office and Muhammad bin Ashraf, Superintendent of Police, who was working as PSO to the minister had been surrendered to Islamabad Police.

Two other police officers, Bilal Zafar and Shahid Aziz, who were working as staff members of the minister, had been sent back to the place of their original postings - Frontier Constabulary (FC).

Sarfraz Hussain, an officer of the information group, was working as director media to the minister and has been asked to report back to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) where he was posted on deputation.

Some insiders in the PML-N say that the interior minister had already conveyed to his party that he would not continue his duties as interior minister in the cabinet of the new prime minister in case he was junior to him.

Nisar claims that he is the most senior member of the PML-N and would not work under a junior except Shehbaz Sharif who is his old friend.

Earlier, the former interior minister who is associated with the ruling PML-N since the days of its establishment, had expressed serious resentment for isolating him from the senior leadership in the consultative process over the Panama Papers case.

The minister spoke of the allegations he is facing within the party in Thursday’s press conference.

He said that he was convinced to resign as interior minister and from the membership of the National Assembly over the treatment given to him by his party leadership but stopped short on the insistence of his friends and colleagues within the party.

Before the presser, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other senior PML-N leaders had met Nisar twice to convince him not to resign as well as not to make public the internal party rifts.

Search for new interior minister a challenge for Khaqan

Imran Mukhtar