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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi likens present-day level-playing field to 2018

Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses a gathering in Hyderabad on June 12, 2023. — PPI
  • PML-N leader not in contact with PML-N supremo NawazSharif.
  • Politician reiterates he won’t contest general polls next year.
  • Abbasi certain polls will happen after PM, CJP, CEC’s confirmation.

ISLAMABAD: Casting doubts over the level playing field in Pakistan’s current political landscape ahead of general polls, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday likened it to the one provided to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) when it came to power in 2018.

When the Imran Khan-led party won the elections five years ago, it was dubbed “rigged” by Khaqan’s party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and others.

The PML-N politician, while speaking to journalists outside the accountability court in Islamabad, also touched upon his association with the party when asked about contact with the party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

The senior politico said no contact has been made with the elder Sharif and there is no need for even him [Nawaz] to do so.

The PML-N stalwart also reiterated that he won’t be contesting the upcoming general elections which are scheduled to take place on February 8, 2024.

“I am not contesting elections, I have said it 100 times,” Abbasi said.

The ex-PM has repeatedly spoken about not partaking in the upcoming polls. His decision in this regard is notable since he stepped down from the party office soon after the appointment of Maryam Nawaz as its senior vice president and chief organiser last year.

However, he rejected reports claiming differences with the party leadership. Abbasi said that he had resigned as the party’s senior vice president to give Maryam an “open field”.

In an interview with a foreign channel, Abbasi said: “I am not contesting elections as I do not want to be part of the possible fault [that could emerge] after the election.”

Referring to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja statements on elections, Abbasi said it is now certain that the polls would take place at its scheduled time.

The former premier appeared at the accountability court for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case against him.

“[I have] been standing in the [National Accountability Court] NAB court for the last 14 years because of a meeting,” he said without elaborating further.

He also wondered if the incumbent chairman of the graft body is not familiar with how these graft cases were made against them.

He added that 14 years is not a very short period to get justice. “After 15 years, everyone says that justice has been done, but who will compensate for the injustice?”

“[..] who would respond to the cruelty and injustice in the country today,” Abbasi added.

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