1 February 2023

By Ahmed Saeed


Former Prime Minister and senior leader of Muslim League (N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday, February 1, resigned from the post of senior vice president of the party, however, he has said that as long as he remains active in politics, he will remain associated with Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

The political leader had been unhappy with the performance of the current coalition government and had not sided with the decision to make Maryam Nawaz the chief organizer of the party. However, he said that PML-N was his party and he could not remain on bad terms with it. He said that it had already been decided that Maryam Nawaz be made the chief organizer and now it would be a challenge for her to run the party.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is considered to as one of the most senior leaders of the PML-N and when Nawaz Sharif was disqualified in 2017, the party appointed him as the Prime Minister for the rest of the term. In the 2018 elections, he lost from his constituency Murree, but later the party elected him as a member of the National Assembly by giving a ticket in the by-elections from the constituency considered to be the stronghold of PML-N in Lahore.

Last month, Abbasi along with his like-minded politicians founded a forum titled Reimagining Pakistan under which seminars will be organized in major cities of Pakistan.

‘The country’s system does not have the power to solve problems’

While speaking to journalist Munizae Jahangir in her Aaj News program “Spotlight” Abbasi had said that the system must rethink where they stand, and that political leaders were not listening to each other but there should be a discussion on the country’s issues. There is a need for broad dialogue to solve economic problems, he had said.

Apart from Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, and former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail are also part of the Reimagining Pakistan Forum. In this regard, seminars have also been organized in Quetta and Peshawar, in which topics such as Gwadar, missing persons, etc. which are not generally discussed, have also been given attention.

Speaking in this regard, the former PM said that people’s problems are not being discussed in the parliament and the purpose of legislation is to create ease for the rulers more than anything else.

When asked what will be the nature of the negotiations outside parliament, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the purpose of this effort was to discuss the real problems of the people, so they do not need credibility.

‘Constitution cannot prohibit judges and military from speaking about country’s affairs’

Abbasi also said that the political system of Pakistan does not have the courage to face the country’s problems and the system will have to think about where we stand and what we should do.

The former Prime Minister suggested that there should be a grand national dialogue in which the army, judiciary, politicians, and the media should sit and discuss the real problems of the country. He explained that he was not asking the military and the judiciary to get involved in politics, but he wanted to inform them about the country’s problems because the judges’ decisions affect the country’s conditions.

He said that the influence of the army in the affairs of the country has always been there and the elections of 2018 were the worst example of this. According to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he wants to find a solution to the country’s problems while living within the scope of the constitution and the constitution does not prohibit anywhere that soldiers and judges cannot sit and talk about the country’s affairs.

‘Creating sedition cases is a political mistake’

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi opposing the trend of slapping sedition cases said that such cases were lifeless against political people in the current government. He said that the way Fawad Chaudhary was defamed was wrong and such things would only lead to a political loss.

Talking about the elections, the League leader said that conducting elections is the job of the Election Commission, “We don’t want any delay in the elections, so the elections will be held on time this year, the by-elections will be held in April and the general elections will be held in October.”


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