Avenfield verdict made 2018 polls controversial, says ex-PM Abbasi


–Long-time loyalist of Nawaz believes PML-N is being pushed against the wall

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) senior leader and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the verdict of Avenfield properties reference has made the forthcoming general elections controversial.

He reasoned that the accountability court should have reserved the decision and announced it after the elections, adding that the decision has put a question mark over the fairness, impartiality, and transparency of the elections.

The accountability court, in its verdict of the Avenfield reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handed ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif over 10 years as jail time, his daughter Maryam 7 years, while Capt (r) Safdar was given one-year jail.

As elections are less than a week away, all candidates including the political heavyweights could be seen busy burning midnight oil to win over their voters.

Shahid Khaqan Abbassi was among the very few politicians in the country who could win the elections without making much effort, however, this time around, thing have changed for him as well as he is contesting the polls on two constituencies i.e., in NA-53 Islamabad against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and in NA-57, Rawalpindi against another PTI candidate Sadaqat Abbasi.

Abbasi is facing a tough challenge on both seats, but the situation in NA-53 is more competitive. Hence, he is seen conducting an aggressive campaign in this constituency.


While being busy addressing various corner meetings in NA-53, Abbasi told Pakistan Today said that the PML-N is being pushed against the wall, defending the case of his party’s supreme leader Nawaz who was jailed just when elections were around the corner.

The former premier said that the accountability court should have had reserved the decision till elections as the Supreme Court did in the case of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur who were summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to record statements in the case relating to a Rs35 billion money laundering scam. The apex court gave them concession till elections, he compared the two cases.

The former prime minister asked the PML-N was being treated differently when Zardari and Talpur were given concession in such a mega-corruption case.


He vowed that despite such tactics and the act of keeping Nawaz out of the elections campaign, the PML-N will get a sizable majority in the next general polls.

To a question as to why he decided to contest election from NA-53, he said that it was the decision of party and local leadership. “Since Imran Khan was contesting elections from the constituency, hence I was asked to contest elections from here,” he added.

About the development work in the playing field, Abbasi said that it was a new constituency and there was a lot to be done. He hoped since PML-N is winning from the region for quite some time, the result would be in their favour this time too.

To a question about the situation whether his party felt the pressure of a big challenge ahead, he said that the public will see the result on July 25 as they will vote for PML-N.


When he was inquired about the internal friction in the party and especially in his own constituency NA-57, he said that it was an old practice as people were usually unhappy during elections, however, it would not have any major impact on the result elections.

Despite facing the great challenge, he expressed optimism that the PML-N will stand victorious in both the constituencies NA-53 and NA-57 as look at the public passion and the participation in the party public meetings.

“They have been doing our homework and this aggressive campaigning and the people’s support will see the result in our favour on July 25,” he vowed.

He said that NA-57 has more than double votes as compared to NA-53 which is why there would be a difference in winning margin. He was confident that he would be the ultimate winner.

On the claims that the PML-N failed to address the real public issues, the PML-N leader refuted to the argument and asserted that his party would get votes in the forthcoming elections on the basis on its five-year performance.


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