Khaqan Abbasi challenges critics, denies possessing illegal wealth

Updated 30 Jul 2017

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Former petroleum minister and PML-N's nominee for interim prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, speaks to the media alongside Maulana Fazlur Rehman.—DawnNews screengrab
Former petroleum minister and PML-N's nominee for interim prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, speaks to the media alongside Maulana Fazlur Rehman.—DawnNews screengrab

The PML-N’s nominee for interim prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Sunday challenged his critics to prove irregularities in his finances, saying “whoever wants to file a reference against me should feel free to do so”.

Abbasi was speaking to the media following his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the capital.

Speaking on Nawaz Sharif's disqualification by the Supreme Court, the former petroleum minister said, “To my understanding of legal matters, there is no harm in possessing an iqama — it’s just a visa — but nowadays, laws are being interpreted in ways that are stranger than ever.”

“I have disclosed all my assets and their details are published in the Pakistan Gazette. So those levelling baseless allegations [against me] should check their own acts first,” he maintained.

When asked about the speculations regarding the involvement of the military in the PM’s ouster, Abbasi said, “There are no two sides in this country; we all are one and work for the betterment of this country in a united way.”

Responding to a question regarding whether Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan would be included in the next cabinet or not given the recent rifts, the interim PM nominee said that the decision had not been taken as yet. "Chaudhry Nisar has always been a part of PML-N and it will always be that way for us."

PML-N leaders, in a parliamentary committee meeting headed by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday, had decided that Nawaz's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, should take over as the party's leader in the Parliament.

Additionally, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was until Friday the petroleum minister, would take over as interim prime minister till the time Shahbaz is elected to the Parliament, and then to the prime minister's office.

Abbasi, during the meeting, said that the party had made a decision and everyone had acted on it. "There is no conflict in the party. We may have given in, but history will not accept this decision [to disqualify Nawaz Sharif] — the nation has not accepted this decision."