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Abbasi advises Nawaz against seeking ‘establishment’s support’ for coming to power

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

LAHORE: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday advised Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif against accepting the establishment’s support to come to power following the February 8 elections, The News reported.

In an information conversation with journalists at ThinkFest 2024 in Lahore, Abbasi suggested that Nawaz should be satisfied with 30 seats instead of securing 100 seats with the establishment’s support.

“Nawaz Sharif should get 30 seats instead of 100 but refuse to get support of the establishment; he should not be discouraged by the number of seats,” he advised.

He said he did not agree with the way Nawaz was currently employing to get into power.

“Those who lack moral courage, should not enter the field of politics,” he said. He also relayed that there was no power in the “chair” of the prime minister in Pakistan, maintaining that when he was the prime minister he just “acted” as the premier.

The former prime minister said he had not left politics and was still with the PML-N. He said he would not contest elections against his party. He said the political relationship with the PMLN was no longer intact.

Abbasi said behind the failure of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan was the stolen elections of 2018 and he was presently facing the situation because of that episode.

He said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was humiliating politicians and he was the first victim of the NAB. The PML-N leader said he had repeatedly asked former PM Shehbaz Sharif to abolish the institute of accountability bureau.

The former PM said he had advised former finance minister Miftah Ismail not to resign and told him to stand firm but the PML-N forced him to resign, and “humiliated” him.

Earlier, addressing the event, the PML-N leader said, “We have a Constitution that mentions delimitation of provinces.” He said Pakistan needed a democratic system and the present parliamentary system needed a lot of improvement. He said be it governance or system of relations, change was inevitable. “Pakistan needs dialogue and leadership should talk to neighbouring countries,” Abbasi said adding that earlier the system had failed and people kept blaming each other.

He claimed that the upcoming elections would not bring any improvement, and only new faces would reach assemblies. He alleged that politicians, judiciary and the establishment together were corrupting the Constitution, and that Pakistan’s failure was due to lack of leadership.

Abbasi said he did not believe that the election would solve any problems, and maintained that bureaucracy needed to be overhauled in a big way, while there was an urgent need to work on bureaucracy in the Federation. The biggest problem here was controlling bureaucracy, and people of the local government came up through corruption.

Many decades have passed, the prime minister and the ministers did not have power; the bureaucracy was asked to work and they replied that the order had come from the “above”, the former premier alleged. He suggested immediate reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to benefit the country. He claimed that five education systems were running in Pakistan, the quality of education was very poor, the education boards had completely failed and those need to be improved in quality.

He called for strengthening women and giving them opportunities. Women were strong, but they did not get opportunities, he added. In every field, women performed better than men, he claimed.

Punjab was at the forefront, but more provinces should be made. He said if something would happen to Punjab, Pakistan’s system would collapse. Dialogue with Pashtuns and Baloch should be done and their problems should be solved. He regretted that no province was working for dialogue with Pashtuns and Baloch.

In future, no political party would be able to get two-thirds majority, Abbasi claimed and said people did not know how to talk if they sit in the opposition outside the parliament. Abbasi said new generation of the country had lost hope due to the current situation of the country.

“On the issue of American intervention, I will say that if the house is weak, people will come from outside,” Abbasi said and added that the army came when politicians gave them a chance.

Former finance minister Miftah Ismail said if the PTI or any party was not given electoral symbol, the next elections would become controversial. In an informal conversation with the media at the same venue, Miftah alleged that the former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s criticism of his economic policies was heard because he was a relative of Sharif family. “People in Pakistan are capable. It is not right to depend only on the Sharif family, the founder of PTI and Bhutto family,” he added.

The problem of how to run Pakistan was still not solved, Miftah said and claimed that no one wanted to follow the Constitution. The problem was not the Constitution but implementation of the Constitution, he added and said the provinces did not trust each other and the country did not have local government system, though it existed in the Constitution.

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