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Abbasi speaks the language of his political patron

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News Analysis | 

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while meeting ousted premier, Nawaz Sharif in London said that conspiracies are still being hatched against his party, PML-N. He made a stop-over in London to meet Sharif who is with his ailing wife and newly-elected lawmaker, Kulsoom Nawaz.

Abbasi said that one must fight all these plots and intrigues. While ducking on a plethora of questions, Abbasi said: “Conspiracies are continuing and there is nothing new about it. Conspiracies shall be dealt with.”

Abbasi has not deviated from the line of his predecessor. He alludes to the oft-repeated conspiracy narrative and holds Nawaz in great esteem

Abbasi met Nawaz on his way for the UNGA Session, which might lead to criticism. Sharif has not only been disqualified from premiership but has been debarred to take part in political activities. Despite the tightening of the noose around Sharif and his kith and kin, he continues to influence proceedings of the government. Abbasi, ever since his inauguration has expressed his loyalty to Nawaz Sharif to the extent that he said Sharif is the actual PM.

Read more: Strengthening PML-N factions after NA-120?

Sharif handpicked Abbasi as his temporary replacement; it was a violation of the Supreme Court and the rules of the ECP as Sharif had been disallowed to make political decisions right after he was disqualified. When Sharif embarked on his infamous GT Road Rally, Abbasi wished and saw him off. With Sharif openly calling out the “gang of five”, many believed Abbasi to be somehow committing blatant contempt of the court.

Abbasi may not find things easy in the coming days. The victory of Ms. Kulsoom Nawaz will mean that either she will replace Abbasi as the new premier or she will exert a domineering influence on Abbasi. In a recent interview

After the meeting, Sharif also gingerly talked to the media and said that he discussed political issues with prime minister Abbasi. Analysts and critics assert that Sharif still has a fair degree of clout over Abbasi. The post-verdict period apparently has not been capitalized upon by political opponents. Despite Supreme Court’s rejection of Sharif’s review petition and ongoing NAB proceedings, Sharif still remains a central figure in the party and the government.

Read more: NA: 120 – PMLN’s Strategic Defeat & Implications

No cakewalk 

However, Abbasi may not find things easy in the coming days. The victory of Ms. Kulsoom Nawaz will mean that either she will replace Abbasi as the new premier or she will exert a domineering influence on Abbasi. In a recent interview, Abbasi said that if the Accountability Courts order measures against Nawaz Sharif, he will comply with them. He said: “We have to apply [court order] ..we [will] have no choice.”

Sharif handpicked Abbasi as his temporary replacement; it was a violation of the Supreme Court and the rules of the ECP as Sharif had been disallowed to make political decisions right after he was disqualified

With Maryam Nawaz boasting over victory in NA-120 by-polls and terming it as a victory for Nawaz, the influence of the Sharif family over Abbasi will increase manifold in the days to come. This indication of complying with court orders against Nawaz may not go down well with the PML-N and the Sharif Family, which has been somewhat resuscitated by yesterday’s narrow victory. Abbasi, despite being an old loyalist of Nawaz may have his work cut out in the near future.

Read more: Real stakes in NA-120: Maryam Nawaz’s future in peril..?

However, Abbasi has not deviated from the line of his predecessor. He alludes to the oft-repeated conspiracy narrative and holds Nawaz in great esteem. It will be a real test for Abbasi, should NAB steps up its drive against Nawaz and his family.


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