Friday Feb 28, 2020
SLAMABAD: Former prime minister and senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has maintained that the only way out of problems currently being faced by the country lies in holding fresh general elections, reported The News.
"The country can move forward once the people are allowed to participate in the first fair and free elections," Abbasi said while speaking to Geo News. "Our political strategy will be in favour of the masses and we cannot act as silent to plight of the people," he said.
He pointed out that allowing Imran Khan's government to complete five years tenure could have been the best option for the PML-N, but they could not allow the rulers to take the country towards complete disaster.
Responding to a question, the former premier said the last PML-N government reached the best LNG deal, saying that India is purchasing LNG at three times higher rate from Qatar.
"Two of the sitting cabinet members also benefited from the LNG deal but they do not have the moral courage to tell that the deal reached by the PML-N government was the best deal," he said. Abbasi said that currently Pakistan was producing natural gas at the rate of Rs6 whereas the LNG was available for Rs3.
"The incumbent government should purchase LNG and store the same for terminals established by us," he said, adding the government should stop producing natural gas in the country.
Abbasi said he wanted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to complete his trial but applied for bail when it was insisted by the party chief Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. "Nawaz Sharif asked me that I should apply for bail which is my legal right," he said, adding that his case would have been a landmark case.
He pointed out that he extended every cooperation to the NAB, and responded to every allegation, provided them details of income and expenses, utility bills etc. as well as details of bank accounts.
He said he was arrested on production of a copy of warrant and he remained on 70 days remand but they asked the same old questions from him and they did not have any evidence or documents against him. "I told them that I take responsibility of decisions taken by the ministry when I was minister and the cabinet when I was the prime minister," he said.
He noted that he was kept in the cell reserved for inmates on death row during his remand, which reflects prime minister and his government's narrow minded approach. "How a prime minister or government can deliver for the people if they continue to check what a person in jail is eating or doing," he regretted.
Abbasi said that NAB had become a department for political engineering which had totally destroyed the economy.
He added that officers who worked with him were asked to give statements against him and save their skins, while a BPS-17 officer of NAB called federal secretaries threatening them in the case.
He also said since the government had been doing his media trial, the hearing of his case in NAB should be telecast live so that the people would know as to what is right and what is wrong.
Originally published in The News