Former prime minister and senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday said that his party will not become part of any “undemocratic act” to remove Prime Minister Imran Khan from office.
“This is our firm decision. We will not be used to remove anyone,” Abbasi said during an interview with a private news channel. He, however, clarified that his party does want to oust PM Imran’s government but by using constitutional options.
“We will force the government to take the vote of confidence,” Abbasi said, explaining his party’s strategy. He said that the government will itself learn that the time has come for them to go home when they will see their coalition partners parting ways.
The PML-N was once considered a pro-establishment party but it changed its path after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was removed from office following a verdict of the Supreme Court in the Panama Leaks case in 2017. Nawaz was jailed in another corruption case, but later allowed to leave Pakistan to receive medical treatment in London. The party blamed the country’s establishment for the party’s downfall and its election loss.
Abbasi said that what happened in the 2018 elections proved that his party wasn’t liked by the establishment.
“The establishment does exist in Pakistan as it exists all over the world,” the PML-N leader said. “They have their own stance and if there is no similarity between your stance and theirs then problems arise.”
“If you want to say that there is an establishment, it is certainly here. Does it interfere in the affairs? It certainly does,” Abbasi said.
However, he clarified that the PML-N doesn’t want a fight with the establishment but warned that it doesn’t want to be used by anyone.
“In the parliamentary system, your vote is not yours but the party’s,” said Abbasi. “If the party has taken a decision then that is my decision too whether I like it or not it’s a separate thing.”
But there were other lawmakers in the opposition parties that choose to defy the decision of their parties and didn’t vote in favour of the bill. Senator Pervaiz Rasheed of the PML-N was one of them.
Abbasi said that Rasheed didn’t have any right to go against the party’s decision. “I am ready to say it on his face that he doesn’t have the right to do so.”
“If he didn’t want to vote then he should have resigned,” the PML-N leader said.