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Did Shahid Khaqan Say Goodbye to PML-N After His Farewell Meeting with Nawaz Sharif?

The meeting between Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif continues to reverberate in Pakistan's political landscape. Was this merely a reaffirmation of their friendship or the beginning of a major political realignment?

In an unexpected turn of events, the recent encounter between former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif in London has raised queries about his future political allegiance. Abbasi, emphasizing his 35-year relationship with the party, asserted that his connections with the PML-N extend beyond merely political considerations. This meeting occurred just days after Abbasi’s pronouncement about the need for a new political party in Pakistan, in which he stated that the extant parties, including PML-N, PTI, and PPP, have failed to deliver.

Khaqan Abbasi promptly dispelled rumors regarding the formation of a new political party after the meeting, stating unequivocally to the media, “I only talked about forming a new party, but I did not create one.”

Abbasi continued to underscore his long-standing association with Nawaz Sharif and expressed concern about addressing Sharif’s perceived misfortunes. He stated, “I’ve been acquainted with Nawaz Sharif for the past 35 years. I and Nawaz Sharif discussed the political situation in the country.

When asked if he had discussed “Re-Imagining Pakistan” or the potential new party with Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Abbasi responded that he had discussed all issues with him and provided his perspective. He acknowledged Nawaz Sharif’s position as the most senior politician in Pakistan and emphasized Sharif’s exceptional grasp of political complexities. Abbasi opined that Nawaz Sharif should move the nation forward by leaving the past behind him. He stated, “There are points on which we agree and points on which we disagree.”

According to sources within the PML-N, however, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been defying party discipline for several months, and he appears to be on the verge of abandoning the party. Abbasi is rumored to be contemplating launching a new political organization or aligning himself with one when it emerges. A senior PML-N source indicated, “It’s only a matter of time before Shahid Khaqan, Miftah Ismail, and Mustafa Khokhar initiate this party as a new entity. Its future fate is a different matter.”

In his statements, the former prime minister also expressed his concerns regarding Nawaz Sharif’s ongoing legal issues, such as his Iqama disqualification, which he believed should have been resolved prior to Sharif’s return to Pakistan. He claimed that the courts had treated Nawaz Sharif unfairly and that he deserved justice. For both individuals and the parties they represent, the future course of action may become clearer in the coming days.

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