Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan’s plan ‘A’ has failed. Now he has begun working on plan ‘B’, which he seems to have put together in some haste. The fate of this plan too appears to be no different, because it is also based on the premise that he would once again reach the National Assembly (NA) after the general elections on July 25, and somehow immediately find himself at the head of a large group of MNAs enabling him to play the role of kingmaker. Plan ‘A’ was simple. So simple, it seemed like an exercise akin to building castles in the air: bide his time in the Pakistan Muslim League — Noon (PML-N) despite the insults being continuously spewed by Maryam, Pervez Rashid and other close confidantes of the party’s supreme leader and grab the party once Nawaz, Shahbaz and Maryam are sent to jail, which he was perhaps promised would happen much before July 25. In case Shahbaz escapes being sent to jail, he could easily be persuaded by Nisar’s Rawalpindi friends to ‘behave’. Perhaps it is still possible for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to come up with a guilty verdict against Nawaz and Maryam much before July 25. But perhaps, Nawaz had seemingly read Chaudhary’s intentions correctly well in time and had justifiably decided in the interest of self-defence not to issue a PML-N ticket to Nisar even if he were to apply for one in person. Once he realised what was being hatched by his detractors in the PML-N hierarchy, Nisar’s egotistical-self got the better of him, and as happens in such situations, he decided to go on a solo flight in a hurry determined to make a plan ‘B’ to achieve the same goal that he had set for himself in his plan ‘A’. The new plan also appears to be based on the assumption that a hung parliament will emerge after the general elections, which Nisar perhaps believes would allow him the space and scope to mobilise a strong group of MNAs, formerly of the PML-N but elected as independents, as well as some of those who returned on PML-N tickets, and then use this group to set up shop for playing the kingmaker. In case Nisar were to spill the beans about Nawaz and Maryam, then his own presumably questionable role is not likely to escape close public scrutiny And in Nisar’s scheme of things Imran — who he has known since the two were schoolboys — would perhaps feel no qualms agreeing to form a coalition government together with his group on the condition that Kaptaan gets to be the PM. Again, in his egotistical frame of mind, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has submitted his nomination papers for two NA and as many Punjab Assembly seats as an independent candidate. In the first place, it would have been well near impossible for even a candidate backed by as formidable a political party as the PML-N to win from all these four constituencies, no matter even if the candidate was no other than the Rajput from Chakri. Secondly, since he would be trying his luck as an independent candidate without the help of the political and financial wherewithal of a leading political party like the PML-N, he would be extending his reach and coverage too thin to pose any serious challenge to his competition in these constituencies. At least on three of these, he would be facing Ghulam Sarwar Khan, his traditional rival, who would have the backing of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), a political party currently riding a populist wave. So, one cannot, therefore, completely rule out the possibility of Nisar losing from all four constituencies that he is planning to contest from. In that case, he would finally be history. Sarwar Khan knows the Chaudhary inside out, and by the time he finishes ruining his reputation by making public in his election rallies all the juicy secrets that Nisar has so far kept from the public’s glare, the Chaudhary would be left with little time or inclination to mount any kind of serious attack against Nawaz and Maryam, which he has already threatened to do. If one were to believe him, the ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz alone is standing between him and his plans to start divulging what he called all the sensational secrets about the Sharifs. The Chaudhary has claimed that when it was time some 34 years ago to pick a leader from among the 15-16 close friends —the so-called ‘Young Turks’ — they chose Nawaz Sharif, though, according to Nisar, he was in no way better than any of the other members of the group. Perhaps he meant this in terms of political wisdom and leadership qualities. Nawaz was perhaps, as the saying goes, first among (mediocre) equals! What Chaudhary omitted mentioning was the fact that Nawaz was perhaps the only one among the group who had the money to spend on creating a new PML out of the PML former prime minister Mohammad Khan Junejo had put together from out of the non-party House of 1985; or perhaps Nawaz was the only one among the lot of ‘Young Turks’ willing to spend money to lay the foundations of the PML-N. Secondly, in case he were to spill the beans about Nawaz and Maryam, then his own presumably questionable role is not likely to escape close public scrutiny. A number of questions would come up, begging for answers: What role did he have in Benazir Bhutto’s two ousters from the PM’s office? What was his role in choosing the chief of the army staff (COAS) on three occasions—General Asif Nawaz, General Musharraf, and General Raheel Sharif? And there are many more questions; even some about the role he played in undermining the political interests of the PML-N during his tenure as the federal interior minister. The writer is a senior journalist based in Islamabad. He served as the Executive Editor of Express Tribune until 2014 Published in Daily Times, June 21st 2018.