KARACHI: In response to the government’s consideration of a ban on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) following violent protests on May 9, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), has firmly dismissed the idea of prohibiting any political party.
Speaking to the media after a hearing at an accountability court in Karachi, Abbasi stated, “No one can put an end to any party.”
The arrest of Khan, the leader of PTI, in the £190 million settlement case had triggered widespread riots and acts of violence that lasted for three days. Given the party’s aggressive approach, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah emphasized the necessity of imposing a ban on the PTI, stating during a press conference in Islamabad, “It’s important to take a stance against armed groups. There is no other option but to impose a ban on this party [PTI].”
Furthermore, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif revealed that the current government is contemplating a potential ban on the PTI, which is currently experiencing internal strife as numerous members, including senior leadership, are parting ways amid an ongoing crackdown. Several party leaders and thousands of workers have been detained in connection with the violent protests.
Abbasi Calls for National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Shutdown :
During a media interaction following a court hearing in Karachi, Abbasi expressed his discontent with the court’s decision to refer the case against him back to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding alleged illegal appointments in Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
Abbasi criticized those responsible for filing the reference, claiming that the case had wasted their time as well as the institutions’ time. He added, “Tell us what powers we misused. Our lives were brought to a standstill, causing both infamy and financial losses.”
Abbasi called on the NAB to issue an apology, regardless of any pressure they may have faced to pursue the case, and accused NAB Chairman of investigating false cases, challenging Prime Minister Imran Khan’s claim of not initiating any cases.
Asserting his commitment to face challenges, Abbasi emphasized that he was not among those who escape like Imran Khan, stating that a political leader competes courageously. He further advocated for the abolition of NAB, arguing that the country and the anti-graft watchdog cannot effectively coexist.
Continuing his critique of NAB, Abbasi labeled it as an institution that harms the country.
The accountability court returned the reference against Abbasi to the NAB while announcing the reserved verdict on a plea filed by co-accused Sheikh Imranul Haq. The petitioner maintained that the court no longer possessed the authority to hear the case due to the NAB amendment ordinance.
It is worth noting that Abbasi, along with three others, is accused in the reference, which was filed in 2020.