KARACHI: Former prime minister and senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday questioned the recent claim of Prime Minister Imran Khan that there was “no pressure” on him from the military in running the government affairs, saying such assertions were made only when “things are not all good’.
He also challenged the PM for his rhetoric that he would not give any “NRO” to the opposition and said that a political person and an elected prime minister should always think about making such claims.
“How can you [PM Imran] say that you would not give any NRO [to opposition parties],” asked Mr Abbasi at a press conference at the Muslim League House here. “Does it suit a politician or an elected prime minister? NRO is offered by dictators to secure and strengthen their grounds. Unfortunately, such claims indicate how mature our national leadership is. This is the leadership which wants to believe that it’s not under [military pressure]. The claim itself suggests all is not good.”
He said the people who had voted for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in 2018 had now turned against the party, which had badly disappointed every segment of society.
Stresses the need for a truth and justice commission
From wage earners to industrialists and from services sector to the country’s agriculture, every area of the economy was on the verge of total collapse, he added.
“So how can you expect any individual or group [or] institution to support the government,” he asked in reply to a question. “This situation is worsening and if it’s not controlled or contained, it would become more disastrous than coronavirus.”
“Take energy sector for instance. It’s because of untimely decisions and incompetence of the people at the helm of affairs that we have suffered losses of Rs122 billion. In more than two years they [PTI government] have failed to set up even a single terminal. As an argument, they have only false accusations against the past governments.”
Truth and justice commission
Accompanied by PML-N leaders Miftah Ismail and Syed Shah Muhammad Shah, the former PM reiterated his proposal for a “truth and justice commission” to identify the mistakes committed in the past and set the future course of action.
Mr Abbasi, who served as the country’s 21st prime minister between August 2017 and May 2018, sounded quite confident about prospects of the success of the opposition’s ongoing campaign against the PTI-led government.
He said the opposition alliance under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would bring “some change” as it would “leave no option other than fresh elections”.
“They [PTI government] are suffering every day and each passing day is increasing their problems. The economy has collapsed. The foreign policy is meeting failures and the slogan of accountability has turned out to be nothing but a bundle of lies. So there’s an anti-government storm which keeps things moving against the government,” he said while explaining reasons behind his hopes.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020