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Question of Maryam’s leadership never came up in party: Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi

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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has strongly rejected all speculations about formation of groups within the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), maintaining that the party would contest the upcoming general elections on basis of its performance. Prime Minister said that Nawaz Sharif is the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawazand the question about Maryam Nawaz’s leadership has not yet surfaced as she doesn’t hold any party position and is nor an elected member. He said government has no program to approach the IMF again.

In an interview with a private TV channel, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan should express his opinion in party meetings rather than expressing them in public.

He said that the PML-N will win the next general elections on the basis of its performance and narrative. The prime minister said that the entire Pakistan now accepts that only Punjab government is successful among all the provinces, as the rest three are not able to give desired performance.

PM Abbasi said that Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif is the party’s provincial president but the leader who the masses recognise is Nawaz Sharif. Responding to a question, the prime minister said, “This is my seventh month as premier, and Nawaz Sharif has never telephoned me up till now [to instruct me]to do this or not do the other.”

He added that there was only one red-line for his government and that was the Constitution of Pakistan. Reacting on the criticism of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, he said: “I don’t have any acquaintance with him, he didn’t even come in assembly to vote. I am not concerned on his opinion.”

PM Abbasi said that he is always ready to debate with Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed over the issue of LNG. “I have asked him several times to come debate with me in person,” he said.

“I have never desired to become prime minister. I was not a candidate for the prime minister office, neither I am right now,” he said. “I have been with the party in its good and bad time. I have never seen those who change parties to become successful.”

He said that not a single party can bring any amendment to the constitution even if its in a majority, adding that 18th amendment was passed with consensus, now it should be implemented in its spirit.

“The provinces now have to show performance, if the parties running the provincial government doesn’t they will fail in the coming times.”

He said people had not accepted the July 28 decision of disqualifying Nawaz Sharif. He dispelled the impression that he was an aspirant for the office of next prime minister as the party leadership would decide such issues.

To a question, Prime Minister said that there were no redlines for his government .Only Constitution contained the red lines. He said all the amendments in the constitution were done with consensus.

To another question, Prime Minister said government has to tackle varying issues with consensus and under a mechanism set by the working of cabinet and parliament.

He said the country had witnessed massive growth during the last four and half years, but instability in the form of Dharnas and subsequently with the Panama case created uncertainty in the country.

He reiterated that the government would complete its term as it had functioned in a transparent way while serving the public. PM said we will continue governing the country till the last day of term.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also vehemently opposed the suggestion about a presidential form of government. To another query, he said after the devolution of powers, the provinces ought to develop their capacity and show their performance. He said among all provinces, only Punjab had been performing well. Prime minister said that he has already said that PIA should be privatized, adding that we are wasting Rs 40 billion annually on PIA.

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