LONDON: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Tuesday he has a relationship of 35 years with Nawaz Sharif and these relations are beyond political considerations. This statement was made amid speculations that Khaqan’s journey with the PMLN has, more or less, come to an end and it’s just a matter of time before this is made official.
Speaking to the media after meeting Nawaz Sharif here for two hours, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said he discussed in detail every issue facing Pakistan and suggested to Nawaz Sharif to unite the nation and show statesmanship as Pakistan was stuck in a myriad of crises.
Khaqan Abbasi met Nawaz Sharif a few days after announcing there was a need for a new political party in Pakistan and the existing parties, including PMLN, PTI and PPP, had failed.
Khaqan Abbasi dispelled rumours about forming a new political party, saying: “I only talked about forming the new party, but I did not make one.” He said: “There is a dire need to compensate for the injustices that happened with Nawaz Sharif. I have had an association with Nawaz Sharif for the last 35 years. I and Nawaz Sharif exchanged views on the country’s political situation.”
“Nawaz Sharif is the senior-most politician of Pakistan today. He has the understanding of things like no one else. I believe he should take the whole nation forward with him and forget a lot of things that have happened in the past. We discussed everything that we needed to and we have done so always. There are things we agree on and something we disagree on,” he told Geo and The News.
The former premier said Nawaz Sharif’s court-related matters – including Iqama disqualification – should have been settled before his departure to Pakistan. He said Nawaz Sharif was victimised by the courts and deserves justice.
When asked if he discussed Re-Imagining Pakistan or the new party with Nawaz, Shahid Abbasi said he discussed every matter with him and “gave my opinion”.
Abbasi said his relations with everyone in the PMLN are fine, and “I have no reservations or issues with anyone”. He said he was not part of the consultations related to Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan or any decision-making. Abbasi said what happened on May 9 – by PTI against the army – is unprecedented and unheard of in Pakistan’s history and those involved must be punished and dealt with according to the law. “I am against persecution of anyone. Prosecution is must for those who break law, but nothing outside of the law should be allowed.”
Abbasi said: “If the PMLN is voted to power, it will be up to the party to pick up the premier”.
As Shahid Khaqan Abbasi came out, a handful of PTI supporters staged a protest outside. When asked to comment about the protesters, Abbasi said he “prayed for their Hidayat”.
A senior PMLN source said Khaqan Abbasi had been acting out of the party discipline for many months, and it was clear he had moved on from the party. The source said Abbasi had made it clear he wants to launch a new party or be part of it when it is formed. “It’s just a matter of time before this party is launched by Shahid Khaqan, Miftah Ismail and Mustafa Khokhar as a new force. The fate it will meet is another matter.”