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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Will Shahid Khaqan Abbasi meet Nawaz Sharif in London?

Former prime minister and Secretary General of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is set to leave for the United States. Will he also visit Nawaz Sharif to convey him an important message?

Former prime minister and Secretary General of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is set to leave for the United States. However, he is yet to receive intimation from the administration about the removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) as he has to proceed to the United States to inquire after his sister and brother-in-law in Pennsylvania, who are critical after testing positive for COVID-19.


Both are hospitalized as Shahid’s brother-in-law Jehanzaib is on ventilator while his sister Afshan Abbasi, who underwent a major surgery in 2017, has been removed for quarantine.

In Shahzeb Khanzada’s show on Geo News, Abbasi said that he no plan to visit London and meet Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif due to precarious corona situation in the United Kingdom.

Notably, in the past, Abbasi explicitly asked the Chief Justice of Pakistan to help political parties and the government initiate a national dialogue to end the ongoing political ‘chaos’ in the country. He was on 24 TV with a prominent anchorperson, Nasim Zehra, when he urged all the stakeholders to come to the table and hold talks.

PML-N’s Khawaja Muhammad Asif has also asked the judiciary to help politicians initiate a national dialogue to let democracy flourish in the country.

Khawaja Asif was speaking to Asma Shirazi of AAJ News when he suggested the judiciary to play a role in order to end the ongoing anti-government protests under the flag of the PDM.

The Opposition’s relationship with the government has been patchy since the time PM Khan assumed the office. However, the situation got intense after corruption cases against the Sharif and Zardari families were filed in the courts. An All Parties Conference (APC) was called in Islamabad on September 20 where Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister, addressed the participants and slammed the country’s establishment for political engineering.

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“It is saddening that the situation has escalated to the level where we now have a state above the state,” said Sharif via a video link from London. “Either we have martial laws in the country or a strong parallel government is created whenever we have a civilian government. Our foremost priority is to get rid of this non-representative, incapable, and selected government,” he said.

Later on, the Opposition criticized the government after Shehbaz Sharif, President of PML-N, was arrested as his bail petition was dismissed by the Lahore High Court (LHC). Notably, he got an extension in pre-arrest bail more than five times in the past six months. His party, however, blamed the government once his petition was dismissed by the court.

What does Nawaz want?

Political analysts are of the view that the PML-N is now looking for a third-party to intervene in the political process for a graceful exit. It has been reliably learned that several party leaders are not happy with Nawaz’s anti-army narrative, and are demanding careful deliberation over the future of the party.

Some policymakers and insiders in Islamabad also believe that Nawaz does not see his political future in Pakistani politics but wants his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, to be a legitimate hire of his politics. While doing so, Nawaz is reportedly using different tactics to put pressure on the establishment and demand acceptable political space for Maryam. However, it is yet to be seen whether the establishment will be in a position under PM Khan to give any bailout package to Sharifs or not.