PM Abbasi rules out technocratic setup, calls it ‘unconstitutional’  

  • Premier says it’s ironic to see two major Opp parties towing line of a ‘political non-entity’ for petty mileage

  • Says Senate election will be held on time even if Balochistan, KP, Sindh provincial assemblies are dissolved

  • Says civil-military relations improved under Gen Bajwa

  • PML-N’s CEC to finalise name of party’s candidate for PM’s Office 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has ruled out any technocratic setup in the country, terming any such arrangement an ‘unconstitutional act’.

“There is no provision of a technocratic setup in the Constitution. Those waiting with ‘Sherwanis’ would be disappointed.  There have been many technocrats in the past but all failed to deliver. Technocrats ruled Pakistan from 2002-2008 but their contributions have been zero. Their performance has been a black spot. Only a public representative can perform better,” said the prime minister in an interview with Pakistan Today Editor and senior TV anchorperson Arif Nizami.

Commenting on the alliance between various opposition parties, the premier said it was ironical that two major opposition parties have accepted the leadership of a ‘political non-entity’ just for petty political mileage.

The prime minister stated that the narrative of opposition parties about mass resignations or dissolving assembles was beyond comprehension as the general elections were already around the corner.

Despite threats, the government would complete its stipulated term, Abbasi said.

“Let me make it clear, the [PML-N] government will complete its term and the Senate and general elections will be held on time. Senate elections will be held in March while general elections will be held in July this year. I have no doubt about these facts,” the PM said in equivocal terms.


Responding to a question about snap polls, the premier said there was no possibility of an early election as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) already had little time to prepare for the elections.

“You know, there have to be delimitations (of constituencies) per the new census. The voters’ lists have to be updated. The entire process for election preparation takes time,” he added.

Asked whether there was any justification for a chief minister to dissolve a provincial assembly, the prime minister admitted that a chief minister has constitutional right to dissolve his respective provincial assembly. “However, since elections are only months’ away, whosoever would dissolve assembly, it would seal his political career as people would not accept these tactics anymore.”

The prime minister further stated that even if the possibility of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh chief ministers dissolving their assemblies was considered, the Senate elections would still be held on time.

“The Punjab Assembly and the National Assembly would elect their senators even if the three assemblies are dissolved. Yes, it would be some crisis but such assembles may go for Senate polls after elections are held,” he asserted.

The PM warned that any chief minister who dissolved assembly to jeopardize the Senate election would have to pay political price for such a move. He also warned Imran Khan and Asif Zardari to be ready to pay political price for siding with a Canadian national whose Pakistani citizenship was also doubtful.

“Asif Zardari should answer the queries of his party’s alliance with a non-entity when his party is ruling Sindh and his party leader is leading the opposition in the Center. Likewise, Imran Khan’s party is ruling Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and also has a major share in the opposition in center. They must support democracy. But they would have to pay political price if they became a part of any conspiracy,” he added.


On civil-military relations, Abbasi said that Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had been appointed army chief by Nawaz Sharif and that he has proven his worth by performing well.

“The civil-military relationship has improved under Gen Bajwa. The general is committed to democratic rule,” the prime minister added and once again reiterated his stance that the elections would be held on time.

While the prime minister talked about ‘conspiracies’, he rejected the notion that the military establishment was involved in any conspiracy against the government.

He said the relationship of the government with state institutions is frequent and there are no tensions.

Commenting over Nawaz Sharif’s tirade against superior judiciary, Abbasi claimed that the people of Pakistan had refused to accept the apex court’s decision of July 28.

“The people did not accept the court verdict (to disqualify Nawaz Sharif) and the history of this time will also reflect their sentiments. This verdict is like Bhutto’s death penalty which was rejected by the public as well as history. This is statement of facts,” asserted the prime minister.

Defending Nawaz Sharif’s attack on the judiciary, the prime minister termed the ousted premier as a ‘statesman’ who leads a major party of the country.


Asked whether Shehbaz Sharif would be the party’s nominee for the slot of prime minister if his party wins a majority in the upcoming polls, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the decision has to be made by the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC).

“There is no candidate in the party for the top slot.  The party would decide if we win the polls. Party president is Mian sahib (Nawaz Sharif) who is the most popular leader too. Shehbaz Sharif is a senior member of the party. He has delivered well in Punjab as the chief minister. Punjab is way ahead of other provinces when it comes to good governance,” he added.

Responding to a question if he would be a candidate for premiership after next polls, Abbasi said premiership was not his cup of tea.

“Neither I was a candidate (for top slot) nor would I be in the future. I am just here to follow the orders of the party chief. But this job is not in line with my personality. I am an easygoing sort of man but there are many in the party who can do better [than me],” he asserted.

Asked to comment on some remarks by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal about allegations of alleged phone calls made to the members of Balochistan Assembly, the prime minister said he had directed the minister to investigate the matter.

“At times awkward questions are put to politicians. Sometimes, remarks by politicians are quoted out of context too. So one may keep these considerations before jumping to conclusions,” he added.

Asked to comment on remarks by the National Assembly speaker and interior minister about conspiracies,  Abbasi said difference of opinion within a major party is natural and one may not jump the gun on mere remarks.

“Actually such incidents have occurred in the past, therefore, suspicions are but natural. However, I believe there is nothing like that this time around. Such things (interventions) in past have never had good impact. I hope that lessons have been learnt,” he added.

Abbasi also defended Nawaz Sharif’s relationship with former military dictator General Ziaul Haq, saying that a working relationship between the two was for three months – from May 29, 1988 to August 17, 1988.

“Hence it is unfounded to claim that Nawaz Sharif was a product of a military dictator. It is also groundless to claim that Nawaz Sharif was a discovery of General Jilani. Rather Nawaz Sharif was a minister in Punjab cabinet like others. He was elected as chief minister Punjab,” the premier said.

He also claimed that Sharifs did not rule Pakistan for a long time, saying that Nawaz Sharif was in power for only 10 years.

“During these 10 years in three tenures, the country developed enormously. He always upheld the constitution and democratic norms,” the prime minister added.


On Pak-US ties, the prime minister stated that Pakistan was perusing a unified foreign policy. He said Pakistan’s handling of the relationship with the US had improved and no country in today’s world could afford to ignore a nuclear state like Pakistan.

He said there is a common ground between Pakistan and US.  He said both the countries have been partners for the past 70 years and this relationship should not be deteriorated over one issue.

“Pakistan has been fighting the menace of terrorism. The US also claims to be fighting terrorism. This is a common ground that both the countries may work jointly on,” he added. The premier asserted that Pakistan will uphold its sovereignty, sustaining pressures.

“In todays’ world, every country is dependent on others. Pakistan is a nuclear country and a big player in the Muslim world. We are in talks with the US and we have responded to their concerns. We have fought war against terrorism without ample resources and we will keep fighting this war,” PM abbasi stated, adding that both Pakistan and US have also held talks on Coalition Support Fund (CSF).


Asked whether he would attend the Davos meeting, the primer responded in the affirmative. However, he ruled out any meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the summit.

“There has been a stalemate on all issues since Mr Modi took over. There is no possibility of a sideline meeting as long as Indian forces commit atrocities against the oppressed Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir,” he added.

Questioned on the possibility of backchannel dialogue with India, the premier stated that backchannels are always operative but no normal channel may work until the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir improves.