PM Abbasi sees no threat to govt

LAHORE – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Monday he doesn’t see political instability and will not dissolve assemblies in any case, but Railways Minister Saad Rafiq said the same day that he shared Ayaz Sadiq’s apprehensions about destabilisation.

Talking to the media after a ruling party meeting, chaired by PML-N President Nawaz Sharif at Jati Umra, Saad said that what the national assembly speaker said about possibility of dissolution of assemblies and early elections ‘holds water’.

The remarks of the two key players of the ruling PML-N come days after National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said he “does not see the [incumbent] assembly complete its tenure”. He told a private news channel that “what’s happening now has never been witnessed before.”

Striking a different note, PM Abbasi however told an APNS delegation that “we [government] do not see any instability. Whatever may be the case, I won’t dissolve assemblies and elections will be held on time.”

The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) delegation that called on the premier at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad included APNS President Sarmad Ali, Secretary Umar Shaheen, Nawa-e-Waqt Group Managing Director Rameeza Majid Nizami and Mumtaz Tahir.

The prime minister said from now on the political decisions would be made at polling stations and not in courts, in an obvious reference to the judgment in some recent high-profile cases, especially the one in Panama Papers case which resulted in the ouster of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif.

“In the current history of this country only four leaders have born. They are: Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Imran Khan,” he said in an interesting observation.

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, civil and military leadership is on one page, Abbasi said. He said keys of the treasury were in his hands.

“Nawaz Sharif has never advised me on phone, through text message or personally,” he said, rejecting the notion that he was just a stooge and it was Nawaz who was still wielding the real power.

“As prime minister, I have complete authority. People voted for Nawaz Sharif and not me,” he said, justifying former prime minister’s influence on the key government decisions.

“Fata will be part of KP but it cannot happen overnight,” he said about the calls for merging the tribal belt into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for mainstreaming these backward areas.

“The PML-N as a political party has matured. Three days after disqualification of Nawaz Sharif a new prime minister had taken charge. The political turbulence has also affected CPEC. The last caretaker government was made with the consent of all parties. It issued 45,000 arms licences and did more corruption than Zardari,” the prime minister said.

Saad sees instability

Railways Minister Kh Saad Rafiq said he subscribed to the apprehensions expressed by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq about early elections.

He was talking to the media after a meeting of PML-N at Jati Umra which was also attended by Foreign Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif and Senator Pervez Rashid.

“Certain moves are on the ground that needs to be addressed. Ayaz Sadiq is a gentleman and speaker and if he says anything it merits value,” the railways minister maintained.

 He raised a questioned about the source of PTI chief Imran Khan and AML head Sheikh Rashid Ahmad behind their ‘political predication’.

He said the PML-N does not dub anyone as ‘thief’ though it faced ‘conspiracies, received abuses, and absurd allegations in its rule’. Saad took a swipe at the accountability process for, what he called unfair. About the Supreme Court verdict in the PTI chief’s case, Saad said the court treated Imran Khan and Nawaz differently.

“Question arises on giving clean-chit to Imran when Nawaz was ousted from power on the question of salary from his son. Imran should show his source and amount of income and explain why his tax amount does not exceed Rs200,000 per annum,” he added.

About Jahangir Tarin’s disqualification he said: “Neither JIT was formed nor a monitoring judge appointed, he added.

About a question on using unparliamentarily words by politicians in their public meetings, he said: “Imran has no match.”

However, he hoped the election day will decide victory of Nawaz Sharif on the basis of his ‘remarkable’ performance.

The railways minister said all the state organs, including judiciary, army and political parties, must act in their domain.

“We are not against the judiciary. But we have right under the constitution to give opinion and comment on a decision. Such a reaction is not an attack on the institution,” he said.

Saad appreciated the remarks of chief justice about not to hurl abuses on the judiciary nor derogating this institution.  The minister called for joint efforts to make Pakistan prosperous.

He recalled that Nawaz Sharif’s story started with Panama leaks which came nowhere in the picture and he was thrown out on the basis of Iqama.

About his own source of income, he said: “He earned all through hard work and he paid tax. But, he added Imran should tell about his sources of income.”

According to sources, the PML-N meeting also discussed NAB court hearing on the references against Nawaz and his children. Nawaz’ one-on-one meeting with the speaker continued for about an hour, say the media reports.  Nawaz Sharif on the occasion reiterated his commitment to continue struggle for the rule o law in the country. According to Minister Mohsin Ranjha, Nawaz will address a public meeting at Kot Momen on December 27.

INP reported Saad as saying: “Sadiq’s concerns should be addressed”. The minister advised that judges should be mindful of their position while giving remarks. He said the PML-N had not picked up a battle against the judiciary, nor did it think of criticizing the chief justice, but it reserved the right to dissent from court verdicts.

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