Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar in a press conference on Sunday dismissed rumours that he had left politics, clarifying that he had declined to be part of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s cabinet over a “difference of opinion.”

Nisar, speaking about his earlier announcement of departing from the cabinet, said that he had stuck by his decision.

“I’m grateful to Nawaz Sharif and PM Abbasi for trying to convince me, but I feel I have a difference of opinion. Tell me, isn’t it honourable that a person disassociates himself over a difference of opinion? In Pakistan’s history, how many people have resigned on a point of principle?”

He did not specify who he had differences with.

“You don’t distance yourself from a ministry for no reason,” he said, adding, “There is always a reason, but I cannot reveal it at this time, because times are not normal right now ─ the party is in difficulty, the leadership is in difficulty.”

“I don’t think the time is right for me to discuss the reasons behind my resignation,” he asserted.

He added that he would, however, not be leaving politics. “I speak in party meetings […] there are issues within the party; those who leak what I’ve said in meetings are dishonest, in my opinion,” he said, urging the media to verify all statements attributed to Nisar.

“I haven’t leaked anything that I’ve said in the meetings,” he claimed, adding that he was someone who had “spent his entire life in one party […] and never even thought of the opportunities that came my way”.

“I said earlier that I don’t wish for any position in the government,” he stressed. “I even resigned from the Interior Ministry.”