Abbasi sees no threat to govt despite ‘instability’

LONDON – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said he sees no threat to his government as his predecessor Nawaz Sharif observed that Pakistan was once again heading towards instability.

The statements of the two PML-N stalwarts came a day after National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq stated that he fears the assembly as well as the government may not complete their terms as some unprecedented developments were taking place on the political scene.

Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who arrived in London on Thursday after attending a key OIC meeting in Turkey, had a meeting with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his children Maryam and Hassan.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, the PML-N chief said Pakistan was passing through a difficult time.

Certain decisions lead the nations to political instability and economic crunch, Nawaz said, expressing fears that the forward movement made under the PML-N government could see a reversal in the prevailing situation.

“Pakistan is passing through an unwelcoming phase and such phases in no way favour any nation. Today, there are hurdles all around and the country is once again heading towards instability that is apparent from its economic indicators and stock market,” he said.

“I had [already] stated at the Quetta gathering that such decisions lead the nations to political instability and finally to economic crunch,” Nawaz said, without telling precisely what steps he was actually talking about.

However, it is quite obvious that he was referring to his dethronement by the Supreme Court and the ongoing accountability of his family, besides other things that have brought troubles to his party rule.

Nawaz Sharif said the PML-N government after a continued struggle of four years had been successful to put the country on the road to prosperity.

“Loadshedding has been curtailed, terrorist incidents have been drastically reduced and CPEC [China Pakistan Economic Corridor] is progressing at full pace. But, the situation that emerged recently could reverse the positive outcome of government policies.”

Today power supply was more than the demand as the government had fulfilled its commitment to steer the people out of darkness, said the PML-N president. But, he said, it was regrettable that economy was once again bearing the brunt of political instability.

“The [economic] situation is deteriorating with stock market dipping to 37,000 points from previous 54,000 points. Other economic indicators like slowing down of CPEC and [retarding] economic growth are also thought provoking.”

Speaking to media, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi however said the government will complete its tenure and elections will be held on time.

“I do not see any threat to the government. Threats are always there; however, our government will have a smooth sailing with interim government to be formed in June.”

About the statement by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq that he was not sure if the assemblies would complete their term, Abbasi termed it “his [Ayaz’s] personal opinion”. He said he was ready to clear the apprehensions of the speaker on this count.

“The reservations the speaker have spoken of are in reference to the events of the last three to four months. He made this in reference to the July 28 order which has impacted the economy and politics. Maybe it [Ayaz’s statement] is being taken out of context. This is his opinion.”

PM Abbasi said since they were in London, they decided to meet Nawaz but there was no specific agenda for the meeting.

According to credible sources privy to developments in PML-N, Nawaz has also recently met former finance minister Ishaq Dar in London. The meeting was held at the residence of Hassan Nawaz, wherein the present situation of the country came under discussion.

Foreign Minsiter Khawaja Asif in his media talk also supported Abbasi’s stance saying that the government would complete its term and the PML-N would once again come into power.

“InshaAllah, we will form government after winning the next general election,” he said, adding that the interim government would be formed for a period of 90 days.

Abbasi and Asif also met with former premier Shaukat Aziz at his London residence to offer their condolences on the demise of his son.

About the OIC meeting, the PM said he conveyed Pakistan’s stance at the forum and hoped that the United States would review its decision to relocate its embassy in Jerusalem.

Talking on the issue of Fata, he said that merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was part of their agenda and some reservations raised on it were being allayed.

Asif maintained that having differences over the issue is natural as the issue goes back centuries. But he said the issue will be resolved soon and the process will be carried forward.

“Fata has an old history which is being reversed by changing its status. A new paradigm is being introduced. It is natural to have small hitches. These will be removed and the issue resolved,” said the foreign minister.

About elections, Asif said, “Mian Sahib will return and we will finalise election strategy. The soft launch of the election campaign will be from next month. Elections will be in July and everyone will know ‘who is in how much water’.”

Contradicting with Nawaz Sharif’s observation, he said there was no destabilisation in the country and PML-N’s agenda and manifesto was being delivered to the masses.

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