RAWALPINDI: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Wednesday that the opposition did not need to do anything against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government as it would fall under the burden of its own follies.
“The opposition has an option of in-house change, but it will not go for it. It is in the hands of the PTI government to complete its five-year term, but it has failed to deliver,” he replied to a question during a ‘Meet the Press’ programme of the National Press Club, Rawalpindi camp.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had hinted at reshuffling the federal cabinet, but the move would not bring any difference. Mr Khan would sack his ministers just to divert the people’s attention, he added.
Accompanied by former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and former MNA Malik Shakil Awan, the senior PML-N leader said the present government was “not capable of meeting the economic and political challenges as it has come into power through rigged elections”.
Commenting on Imran Khan’s claim that the armed forces supported his party’s manifesto, Mr Abbasi said that the army always backed a government and not the manifesto of a political party.
“The government lacks direction and it has no policy to bring the country out of financial crisis. People are laughing at the prime minister over his government’s performance during its first 100 days,” he said.
He said the PTI did not learn from history and used foul language against its opponents for the past five years.
He said the PTI government was taking political revenge and instituting false cases against the opposition leaders. The prosecution, he said, had failed to establish any case against PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif even after taking him into custody for the past 60 days.
Mr Abbasi said that normally a 10-day remand of a person nominated in a murder or attempted murder case was granted, but the opposition leader had been in NAB custody for 60 days. “No financial allegation was levelled against Nawaz Sharif or Shahbaz Sharif and the PML-N government performed well during its previous term,” he claimed.
In reply to a question, he said the ruling party always sought mid-term elections either to improve its majority or when it wanted a way to avoid challenges.
The former prime minister said the government had ignored parliament as it opened the Kartarpur border without taking it on board. “We are not against the move, but the country’s foreign policy should be discussed in parliament before taking a decision,” he added.
Talking about the Model Town incident, he said the best solution to the issue was to determine the type of weapon used in the incident and identify the persons who fired the shots. Mr Abbasi said the PML-N had left behind better economic conditions as the country’s GDP growth was at 5.8 per cent and foreign exchange reserves were $16.23 billion.
He said the stock index stood at its highest level during the PML-N government, but after that it crashed several times. “We had devised a five-point agenda to take the country to development path and one of them was to bring more people into the tax net,” he added. He said the tax amnesty scheme was introduced to broaden the tax net and it should be implemented. “I think one who does not pay taxes despite having resources is a corrupt person,” he said.
The PML-N leader said the country was passing through the worst financial crisis, but the federal cabinet was presenting a rosy picture, which showed immaturity of the government.
“The LNG import contract was good for the economy and it brought the country out of the energy crisis. I am ready to answer questions about it at any forum,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018