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May 28, 2018

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Impossible to run country in current scenario: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday said that in the present circumstances, it was impossible to run the affairs of the government, adding that the current situation is due to the role played by the judiciary, National Accountability Bureau and media.

Abbasi said so during an interview to anchorperson Talat Hussain on Geo News programme 'Naya Pakistan'. He said the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) can also give its own narrative and their narrative was of 'giving respect to vote' and 'performance'.

Ousted from the PM Office by the Supreme Court in July 2017, Nawaz has been rigorously campaigning with the slogan 'give respect to vote', while at the same time facing corruption references filed against him and his family NAB.

The prime minister, during the show, expressed hope that a consensus on the name for caretaker PM would be reached with Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah by Monday.

He said that unfortunately, a consensus could not be reached so far, adding, "Peoples Party stresses that a name it proposed should be agreed on for the caretaker PM's post; we stress on the name we proposed.

"We should learn from the past and rest the decision with the people," the prime minister said.

At least five meetings have been held between PM Abbasi and Shah so far, but all of them ended in a deadlock, with the matter now expected to be taken to a parliamentary committee.

The matter would go to the Election Commission of Pakistan if the parliamentary committee also fails to reach a consensus over a name for the top interim post.

Commenting on defections within his party, Abbasi said the defectors stayed with the ruling party for four years and 11 months. "It is better for individuals, who cannot be trusted, to quit the party."

He, however, maintained that the ruling party had at least three to four "strong candidates" in every constituency. The prime minister further said that it was necessary to call a meeting of the National Security Committee to put an end to the situation after the statement by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

"Give the kind of circumstances today, it has become impossible to run the country," he said, questioning how would a country progress, in which the leadership stops making decisions.

"Under the present circumstances, bureaucracy is unwilling to present any summary. Such matters would be resolved through a national dialogue." Abbasi asserted that it would be impossible for any government to run the state affairs under current circumstances.

Speaking about NAB, he said the anti-graft body was established by a dictator to pressurise politicians, adding that they wished to disband NAB through consensus.

His statement was a reference to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who established the bureau in the late 90s. "It should be pondered over in the [national] dialogue whether it is in interest of the country whatever the NAB has been doing," the prime minister said.

"The circumstances created by the NAB at present have been causing 90 per cent damage to the country." Asked about the tax amnesty scheme his government introduced, Abbasi said the scheme provided a chance to individuals to come into the tax net. He noted that his government slashed the tax rates by one half. "Those doing business are under an obligation to pay taxes," the premier added.

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