May 242015

After around three months’ gap, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has summoned meeting of federal cabinet on May 26 (tomorrow) apparently after his reconciliation with Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Federal Cabinet Secretary Raja Hassan Abbas confirmed a meeting of the federal cabinet has been convened on Tuesday. “The meeting will devise a strategy for the upcoming federal budget,” he said.

Officials said a lot of work had piled up at various ministries due to the unusual delay. However, the meeting was continuously deferred as Prime Minister Nawaz and Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar were not ready to talk to each other due to their growing differences, the official said.

Sources said the bone of contention between the prime minister and his interior minister was the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) for which Nisar had been demanding funds. Sources added that the prime minister had also not approved Nisar’s request to increase salaries of Federal Investigation Agency officials. Apart from that, Nisar was not happy with the prime minister’s leaning towards his rival group in the ruling PML-N led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.

However, sources said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had mediated between Premier Nawaz and Chaudhry Nisar and due to his intervention the two agreed to break the ice.

Sources said Shahbaz had held around 11 meetings with Chaudhry Nisar as well as several meetings with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Later Dar and Asif had asked the prime minister to reconcile with Chaudhry Nisar.

They said the latest meeting in this regard was held at Jati Umra in Raiwind where Nawaz had acquiesced to his brother in reconciling his relations with the country’s top security czar.

“Now the prime minister and Chaudhry Nisar are likely to hold a one-on-one meeting on Tuesday or in the coming days to give a message to the concerned that there are no differences within the party,” said an official.

This is the second time Shahbaz has played a role in bridging differences between the prime minister and Chaudhry Nisar. Earlier during the sit-ins by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in Islamabad, the interior minister had also dissociated himself from official matters.

However, this time Chaudhry Nisar did not quit his assignments and continued to perform duties.

PML-N MNA Talal Chaudhry, who is one of the ruling party’s most vocal leaders on the media, said he did not know about any differences between the prime minister and Chaudhry Nisar. “Difference of opinions exists but these [differences] have been solved amicably,” he told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2015. 

The post After long hiatus: PM Nawaz convenes cabinet to devise budget strategy appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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