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Tuesday February 27, 2024

Islamabad abuzz with reports of new political party launch

It is said that politicians from different parties are being contacted to form a new party

January 19, 2023
PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Left) and Miftah Ismail. The  News/File
PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Left) and Miftah Ismail. The  News/File

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad is abuzz with reports about the launch of a new political party.

It is said that politicians from different parties are being contacted to form a new party. However, there is no confirmation of these reports from any reliable source.

Names of PMLN leaders, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister Miftah Ismail, are being discussed as those joining the party. About Shahid Abbasi, it was widely speculated in the social media on Wednesday that he had resigned from the PMLN. Shahid Abbasi, when contacted, said that this was totally untrue. Neither has he resigned from the PMLN nor is he part of any move for the launch of a new political party. Abbasi said that he is receiving a lot of phone calls and messages after someone had speculated on social media that he had resigned from the PMLN. He explained that they were organising a series of seminars which possibly made the people speculate about the formation of a new political party.

Miftah Ismail, when contacted, also denied it and said that how a person like him, who lost two elections in Karachi, could form a political party. Regarding Shahid Abbasi, he denied that Abbasi had resigned from the PMLN. As explained by Abbasi, Miftah also said that some people may be thinking of forming a new political party after he and some other like-minded friends, including politicians, are holding seminars in all the provincial capitals and Islamabad. He explained that there was no hidden agenda of these seminars which, he insisted, are being organised to facilitate consensus on issues which seriously concern Pakistan. Miftah said that leaders from different political parties are invited to attend these seminars for building a consensus on national issues. On Tuesday, Miftah also tweeted about it. He announced that friends like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Fawad Hasan Fawad, Khawaja Mohammad Hoti, Haji Lashkari Raisani, Asad Shams and many others are trying to bring about national consensus on major issues.

“Thus we are starting with holding seminars across Pakistan to highlight the issues facing ordinary Pakistanis & their solutions. After 75 years, we have: Half the children not in school; 40 percent children stunted; 18 percent children wasted; 28 percent underweight; 55 lakhs new children born every year; 8 crore people below poverty; majority population unable to afford lifesaving surgery; high unemployment, inefficiencies causing high rates of electricity. “Our leaders need to sit together and find solutions. Our 1st seminar on Sat Jan 21 is a step towards that consensus. Pls support this effort.”

Interestingly, many from within the PMLN are fuelling these reports, which have been denied both by Abbasi and Miftah. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Miftah Ismail are considered among those Leaguers who have disagreement with their party leadership on the handling of economic issues. Shahid Abbasi though avoided discussing it in public, Miftah made certain comments in TV talk shows, which were not received well by the Sharifs.

Miftah had complained that he was not given a respectable exit by the party leadership from Shehbaz Sharif cabinet, which he represented as finance minister. He has also been critical of incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s economic policies and justified his public criticism of Dar’s handling of financial issues by saying that Dar had also been targeting him when he was the finance minister.

Two days back, Miftah was publicly humiliated by prime minister’s younger son Suleman Shehbaz, who in a tweet without naming Miftah had dubbed the last three finance ministers as “jokers”. Suleman, however, praised Ishaq Dar for his work. Shahid Abbasi has been a favourite of Nawaz Sharif but a few months back, the latter had left a party meeting (he was attending through videolink from London) when Abbasi on policy issues differed with Nawaz and Dar and had told them bluntly to either let the Shehbaz government take its decision as it deemed fit or come back and take charge of things. At that time, Miftah was the finance minister.