New York -  The interim prime minister of Pakistan said Tuesday that he had no choice but to take the job but that he was no ‘bench warmer’.

In an interview with The New York Times an hour before being formally approved by Parliament, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also vowed to fix what he described as political abnormalities between the executive, judicial and military branches that had felled previous governments.

“I had no ambitions for this job,” Abbasi said in his chamber as he hastily scribbled his acceptance speech for interim prime minister on sheets of paper in green ink. “My party sent me here and here I am. It was a fait accompli. I was not given a choice.”

When I asked if he had wanted to be prime minister, Abbasi said: “Given a choice I would not take the job.” But he insisted that he would not function as a “bench warmer” for Nawaz Sharif’s sibling, and said his first order of business would be to improve the executive’s relationship with the military and the judiciary.

“There are certain issues here which I cannot reconcile with, the way our whole system operates, the relationship between the judiciary and the executive, within the executive, the civil-military relationship,” Abbasi said.

“I think there are issues which do not allow governments to perform here, and the country is suffering,” he added. “My aim will be to contribute to fixing those anomalies.”

He did not specify what steps he would take, but said he preferred “engagement” over a “politics of confrontation.”

“I think there is room for improvement,” Abbasi said when asked whether smoothing civil-military relations would be part of his agenda. “The relationship is functional, and I think there is a need to define it more fully through engagement.”

 “The first thing to realise is that we are all on the same side,” Abbasi said, referring to the civilian government and the military. “I think we need to reinforce that realisation.”

Abbasi criticised the Supreme Court decision that felled Nawaz Sharif as an extremely narrow legal argument. He declined to speculate on why the court had made such a decision with “no evidence,” but said, “We don’t accept it, the people don’t accept it.”

“If the courts operate under public pressure and media pressure, then God help us all. I would then not go to court but pray for justice,” Abbasi said.

The new interim prime minister is an aviation enthusiast who loves to fly planes and skydive. He owns the low-cost Airblue airline and described himself as an “outdoors person” who enjoys camping and hiking. He is also well known for driving to work without a security detail.

“I value my freedom and my privacy, and both are gone today,” Abbasi said. “Generally I drive myself, but that’s going to change from this evening, unfortunately.”

Asked whether he was planning for the possibility of remaining prime minister for a longer period or being a prime ministerial candidate in the 2018 general election, Abbasi said: “Whatever the party decides. I have no particular ambition. That’s the party’s choice.”

Many analysts suspect that Nawaz Sharif will continue to make major decisions behind the scenes for Abbasi, but the new leader rejected such conjecture. “I’m free to take decisions,” the new interim prime minister said. But he added: “I am Nawaz Sharif’s man, and the people’s prime minister is Nawaz Sharif.”