PML-N  senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. — Reuters/File


PML-N  senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. — Reuters/File
  • “Maryam Nawaz has come into a leadership role and she needs space.”
  • Abbasi says he stands with PML-N and will always be with party.
  • “When new generation comes, old people have to enter a new role.”

Finally pulling the curtain on the reason behind his unexpected resignation from the key party post, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Maryam Nawaz has assumed a leadership role and needs her “space”.

Abbasi, the former prime minister, decided to step down after Maryam was elevated as the party’s senior vice-president and chief organiser by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the PML-N president.

During an interaction with journalists in Islamabad on Friday, Abbasi clarified: “I have resigned from my post but I stand by the party and will always be a part of it.”

The PML-N senior leader said, “She [Maryam] needs space, if we are there, there would be disagreement which is not suitable for anyone.”

He added that when the new generation comes, old people have to enter a new role.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s spokesperson Mohammad Zubair on Wednesday said, “He [Abbasi] is a big leader and quitting the post will have no effect on him.”

Zubair, the former Sindh governor, had said that he didn’t want to “wash dirty laundry” in the public. “He is a very senior leader and a former prime minister. The party needs his experience.”

‘Not appropriate’ to share same party rank

On February 1, Abbasi said that it was not appropriate for him to share the same party rank in the PML-N after Maryam was elevated to the post of senior vice-president and chief organiser.

The major decision, which was taken earlier this month during Maryam’s stay in London, made her the third most powerful figure in the party after her father, three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and her uncle PM Shehbaz.

During her recent months-long trip to London, Maryam — the scion of the Sharif family’s political dynasty — had also been tasked with “reorganising” the party by Nawaz Sharif.

“I don’t have any objections [to Maryam’s appointment]. It’s the party’s and its president’s discretion. I don’t have any reservations,” Abbasi had said while speaking on Geo News‘ programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath”.

“I tendered my resignation on January 3,” he had added.

Hitting back at critics, Abbasi had said whether “people like it or not dynastic politics does not disqualify anyone”. “We should leave it to the people.”

In response to a question, Abbasi had said that a person should have faith in the party’s leadership, but insisted that “if a consultative process takes place, it would be better”.

“I had also told earlier that when Maryam [holds the reins of the party], then I would not prefer staying in the same office […] because when you stay, a difference of opinion results in grouping within the party and that isn’t in anyone’s favour,” he had said.

According to the seasoned politician, he is a member of the PML-N and will stay there, ruling out reports of a separate political party’s formation. “I am a worker of the PML-N and will keep working in whichever capacity I am asked to.”

Not taking credit away from Maryam’s hard work, the former premier also said that the PML-N vice-president had made a space for herself within the voters’ and people’s hearts.


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