System not allowing ‘capable’ people in political arena: ex-PM Abbasi

Published February 26, 2023
LAHORE: Businessman Mian Mansha and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi participate in a session on Power Failure: Pakistan’s Search for Stability, at the Lahore Literary Festival. The talk was moderated by John Reed, South Asia bureau chief for the Financial Times.—White Star
LAHORE: Businessman Mian Mansha and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi participate in a session on Power Failure: Pakistan’s Search for Stability, at the Lahore Literary Festival. The talk was moderated by John Reed, South Asia bureau chief for the Financial Times.—White Star

LAHORE: Admitting that the ‘system’ was failing to allow capable people become part of political mechanism, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi regretted on Saturday how politicians had been disqualified and barred from taking part in active politics, while both the judiciary and establishment influenced politics in the country.

The ex-premier and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader expressed these views at a session of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) on Power Failure: Pakistan’s Search for Stability. Known businessman Mian Mansha was also on the panel at the session.

Responding to a query by moderator John Reed, South Asia bureau chief for the Financial Times, he said the incumbent political system was unable to meet challenges of the present time, whereas bureaucrats were also not capable enough to resolve issues of their respective ministry.

The PML-N leader, however, believed that the system could change through three consecutive transparent and fair elections.

Mian Mansha highlights need to set own house in order

Answering another question, the former prime minister said those who wield power in the country believe Pakistan cannot become a failed state, because it is a nuclear power, with 220 million population.

In response to yet another query, Mr Abbasi said when state institutions transgressed their limits, controversies emerged and the situation was being seen in Pakistan for the last many decades. He said that corruption is one of the major issues plaguing the country but regretted that the corrupt (politicians) were more acceptable to the establishment.

PML-N foe ‘Abbasi’s leader’

Interestingly, he included the ‘sworn-enemy’ of his party Imran Khan among the only leaders, he believed, Pakistan had ever produced. “There have so far been only four political leaders (in true sense) in the political history of Pakistan — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan,” he remarked.

He admitted there was 35 per cent inflation in the country and warned that inflation rate would go up further because of certain conditions the government had to accept on the dictation of world donors. He said a government had to face negative results of its harsh policy decisions and that was why political parties, when in power, avert taking such decisions.

Referring to the tough stance the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has taken in giving a bailout package to Pakistan this time, business tycoon Mian Mansha regretted that successive governments made promises with the lending agency about reforming the local financial system but forgot the commitments once country’s financial condition improved.

Calling for setting right own house, Mr Mansha highlighted the need that the government hire ‘capable people’ for its various institutions.

Responding to a query, he said that Pakistan needed to normalise its relations with India to move forward on the road to progress and prosperity.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2023

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