A spokesperson of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has strongly refuted reports regarding party leaders holding meetings with former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
The statement was issued late Sunday night in response to a report aired by ARYNews earlier in the day, claiming that PTI leaders had held “backdoor meetings” with the disgruntled PML-N leader to convince him to join the opposition party.
Quoting unnamed sources, the channel said that PTI Chief Imran Khan was also expected to visit Nisar’s residence following which a formal announcement would be made.
A PTI spokesperson, through a statement issued by the party’s media cell, rejected the reports of meetings with Nisar, saying that the news had “no basis in truth”.
The spokesperson also refuted speculations regarding plans of future meetings between Nisar and the PTI leadership.
According to the statement, none of the PTI leaders — Khan, Jahangir Tareen, and vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi — held meetings with Nisar.
The spokesperson cautioned against reporting news “based on unconfirmed and incomplete information” but did not confirm or deny media reports of Nisar joining PTI.
Nisar, who is still a member of the ruling PML-N, on more than one occasion has publicly expressed his disapproval over former premier Nawaz Sharif’s confrontational statements regarding judiciary and the armed forces.
His differences with Nawaz’s daughter Maryam have also been apparent, with the former saying that the latter’s “sharp tongue” was driving the party towards a dead end. He has time and again made it clear that he would not work under the leadership of Maryam.
There is a common perception in the party that whenever Nisar passes any comment about Maryam, especially related to leading the party, he gets a sharp retort from someone associated to the Nawaz camp.
Last week, Nisar met PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif in the backdrop of recent bickering between him and Nawaz’s close aide Senator Pervaiz Rashid, who had declared that in the upcoming elections Nisar would not be awarded party ticket.
According to a PML-N insider, Nisar and Shahbaz had a discussion for more than three hours on party matters and the former’s future role in the party.
“Shahbaz faces the daunting task of persuading his elder brother to have a one-on-one sitting with Nisar to iron out their differences. If he does not succeed, I am afraid Nisar will have to look for other political options,” a PML-N leader from Punjab had remarked.