Former Pakistan PM Abbasi launches new political party “to change the system”

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Islamabad, Jul 6 (PTI) Pakistan’s former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday formally launched a new political party with the mission to change the system and restore respect for the Constitution of the country.

The main slogan of the Awaam Pakistan Party is: ‘Badlien gaen nizam’ (we will change the system) and its membership is open to anyone and everyone who can contribute for the development of the country.

Abbasi, 65, served as a prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018 when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court.

Abbasi, who belongs to the Murree area of Rawalpindi, which is a famous hill resort, distanced himself from the PML-N due to policy disagreements after 2018 and refused to be part of the government in 2022.

He is a businessman, whose family owned the country’s AirBlue airline. He entered politics in 1988 when elected as a member of the National Assembly for the first time. He was elected at least six times from the platform of the PML-N, and was considered close to party supremo Nawaz Sharif and also served as federal minister.

Addressing the launch event here, Abbasi said that the entire system of the country, including governance, police and revenue systems, has failed. “If the powers are not transferred to the district level, this system cannot go forward,” he said.

The country cannot be run without following the Constitution. “This party is firmly rooted in Pakistan’s Constitution and parliamentary democracy, there is no other path,” he said. “The tragedy is that those sworn to defend the Constitution are breaking it every day. How can a country of 240 million people run like this?” Abbasi clarified that the party’s ideology is helping the people of Pakistan and taking responsibility for them. “We want people who will contribute something to the country, not take from it,” he said. “Only those who contribute or give can help the country move forward.” He said that people asked him if the establishment allowed him to launch the new party. “This is the point we’ve arrived at. In this country, the common man believes that nothing can happen without the establishment’s say-so.

“They think that the parties can’t do anything, and that is because the establishment has made these parties,” he said, apparently referring to the powerful military.

The former prime minister regretted that politics has become “more about keeping seats than serving the public,” emphasising that the Awaam Pakistan was an “unconventional party.” Abbasi is joined by the former finance minister Miftah Ismail, who like him parted ways with PML-N due to differences with the party’s way of politics and some other leaders.

Ismail had served as a minister in Abbasi’s cabinet and later, also in the cabinet of Shehbaz Sharif.

Abbasi initiated discussions nationwide in 2023 under the banner 'Reimagining Pakistan' to pave the ground for a new party.

In many discussions and seminars, Abbasi has been insisting that only a new political party with “a will to change the current system” can pull the country out of crisis.

The announcement of the new party was made last month when a video shared on Awaam Pakistan's official X platform featured disheartened citizens addressing national issues such as inflation, energy shortages, corruption, unemployment, and educational disparities. But it was formally launched on Saturday. PTI SH NPK NPK NPK