Abbasi likens current govt to Imran’s ‘hybrid regime’

Ex-PM says people from all over Pakistan will join our new party, as the public believes elections were rigged

News Desk May 20, 2024
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. PHOTO: EXPRESS NEWS

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi likened the current government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to that of incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan and criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), claiming it only contributed to the country's economic woes.

"The current government came to power through the same means as Imran Khan did. NAB has only caused destruction to the country's economy," Abbasi said, speaking to the media after appearing before an accountability court.

Abbasi expressed sorrow over a recent tragic incident and offered prayers for the slain Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi.

He also questioned the basis of the charges against him, noting that NAB officials admitted there were no financial benefits involved. "The court asked today, what is the crime? Even NAB officials cannot specify which powers were abused. Unfortunately, people have been running in circles for years without any evidence," he added.

Abbasi argued that those who filed the cases, including the former NAB chairman, should be held accountable. "The court should make a decision to prevent false cases in the future. The case in Islamabad has also been withdrawn. Until there is a significant administrative change in this country, there is no hope for improvement," he said.

Highlighting the political landscape, Abbasi announced plans for a new political party. "A political party is not formed in a day; it will come into existence by next month. People from all over Pakistan will join us, as the public believes the elections were rigged," he stated.

Also read: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi set to launch new party

He also criticised the concept of a hybrid government, as mentioned by former army chief General Bajwa, noting that there is no constitutional provision for such a government. "The country will not progress without a large-scale systemic change. No action has ever been taken against those who violate the Constitution," he remarked.

Abbasi emphasised that both the current and previous governments were established for specific objectives before elections. "We address public issues, having distanced ourselves from establishment-backed parties. To solve the country's problems, capable individuals must be empowered. Political parties have taken the path of power," he said.

Earlier, an accountability court in Clifton heard a NAB reference against the appointment of the Managing Director of PSO. Abbasi and others were present in court. The court inquired if the defendants had gained any financial benefits, to which the NAB prosecutor responded that there were no such benefits, only allegations of misuse of authority.

Defence lawyer Khawaja Naveed argued, "We did not have the authority to misuse in the first place." The court remarked that NAB prefers to pursue cases that benefit them, insisting that financial gains must be proven for the case to proceed.

The court questioned which court would handle the case if not NAB's, asking the prosecutor to provide clarity at the next hearing. The court adjourned the hearing until July 2.


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