Miftah Ismail, Khaqan Abbasi launch ‘Awaam Pakistan’ party


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Aug 29, 2023
Miftah Ismail, Khaqan Abbasi launch ‘Awaam Pakistan’ party

After months of speculation, a glimpse of ‘Awaam Pakistan’ — the new party on the block — appeared on the country’s political horizon on Thursday.

The video posted on the X account of Awaam Pakistan was shared with the tagline ‘Awaam Pakistan: Badlein ge nizam’ (People of Pakistan: We will change the system).

It featured a string of despondent citizens asking questions about multiple national issues such as inflation, gas and electricity shortage, corruption, unemployment and lack of schools for girls.

The video was reposted by ex-finance minister Miftah Ismail and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who have long floated the idea of a new political entity to take the country out of perennial crises.

Mr Abbasi and Mr Ismail — two former PML-N leaders — along with former PPP senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, were said to have been working on the project ever since they quit their parties over policy differences in 2022 and 2023.

The three then formed a group of political mavericks that held a series of nationwide seminars in 2023 on the challenges facing the country under the banner of ‘Reimagining Pakistan’.

New party, old guard

Mr Abbasi has been mentioned as the convener of Awaam Pakistan’s organising committee, and Mr Ismail his deputy.

Sources told Dawn that Mr Khokhar is no longer with the group as he wanted to push forward the party’s launch to wait for an Islamabad High Court’s decision on the result of NA-47 Islamabad, from where he contested the February 8 general election.

However, other members were in favour of a swift launch.

While talking to Dawn, Mr Ismail said the group had kept the option of launching a political party open when they were holding seminars under the banner of Reimagining Pakistan. “It’s not [a decree] from heaven that only traditional politicians like Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari or Fazlur Rehman can do politics. We, the non-traditional, can also do that. The people of Pakistan can do that.”

Several former PML-N stalwarts have already joined the new party, and known professionals are also filling up the ranks.

According to Mr Ismail, the party’s organising committee included former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor and PML-N leader Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, former PML-N Senator Javed Abbassi and former MQM MNA Sheikh Salahuddin.

The founding members include former PML-N MNA from Faisalabad Rana Zahid Tauseef, former health minister Zafar Mirza, former PML-N MPA Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Hazara activist Fatima Atif, Sindhi nationalist leader Anwar Soomro, legal expert Abdul Moiz Jaferii and ex-HEC chairman Tariq Javed Banuri.

The former finance minister’s response was in the affirmative when asked if the new party would contest elections.

Mr Abbasi, the former prime minister, also confirmed to Dawn that the party will be formally launched on July 6 or 7 with 17 founding members.

“We have not actually pursued anybody. These are people who want to work and think it’s a good platform. They are people who are worried about the country.”

“We are not collecting electables. Professionals and experts should be in political parties; that is the depth we need today,” he said.

Mr Abbasi said former prime minister Imran Khan brought professionals into his party after taking power.

“They were not part of his party from the start. In our case, these people are part of a party being launched.”

When asked whether the party had engaged with the establishment before its launch, Mr Abbasi said: “Our relationship with the establishment will be according to the Constitution and nothing beyond that — this is something we firmly believe.”

Maybe this party will have the potential to cause some damage to someone like Maryam Nawaz.
Not sure, how much different their party can make in making Pakistan a better and prosperous country.

Government cannot justify tax exemption for civil and military officials: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi​

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has criticised the tax exemption granted to civilian bureucrats and military personnel in the latest budget announced the the government.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, the former premier, flanked by fellow Awam Pakistan party member Miftah Ismail, criticised Pakistan's latest budget, labeling it as the worst in the country's history and lamenting it as the third consecutive disappointing budget under the current government.

"If you sell land or house, a tax of 2.5 to 4.5 percent has been imposed on it. But there is a clause kept in it which I don't think any government can justify it. Civil bureaucrats and military personnel whether serving or retired have been granted an exemption. I am absolutely in favour of giving exemption to the family members of martyrs who have houses. But a path has been opened that will spoil the whole matter. Tomorrow the people will ask if they can get an exemption then why can't I get it."

Abbasi condemned the budget's economic implications, highlighting that government expenditures now account for 25% of the GDP.

He expressed concern over the disproportionate taxation policies, asserting that such measures often lead to significant reductions in disposable income for the average citizen—a scenario more commonly witnessed in countries where the government shoulders the entire fiscal burden.

The former PM also raised questions about fiscal governance, pointing out discrepancies in tax collections from sectors like tobacco manufacturing.

Highlighting Pakistan's substantial financial outlay on interest payments, Abbasi criticized the lack of measures to combat diesel smuggling and the absence of economic benefits reaching the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), despite their integral status within Pakistan.

Source: The Express Tribune
‘Open for all’: Ex-PML-N leaders Miftah Ismail, Shahid Khaqan launch new party

Former PML-N leaders Miftah Ismail and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday formally launched a new party named Awaam Pakistan, declaring it “open for all” to join.

The leaders had long floated the idea of a new political entity to take the country out of perennial crises. Last month, a glimpse of Awaam Pakistan appeared on the country’s political horizon after a video posted on the X account of the party was shared with the tagline ‘Awaam Pakistan: Badlein ge nizam’ (People of Pakistan: We will change the system).

The video, featuring a string of despondent citizens asking questions about multiple national issues, was reshared by both Ismail and Abbasi.

Today, the party was formally launched.

Speaking at the ceremony in Islamabad, the former finance minister said the vision of his party was to provide Pakistanis with equal economic opportunities. He stated that Awaam Pakistan would not follow the “hereditary politics” or the concept of a “messiah”.

“If you believe that we have the right to move forward […] then join us, we will stand with you and rebuild Pakistan,” Ismail said.

'Tainted politicians won't be part of Awaam Pakistan': Khaqan, Miftah launch new party

Ending months of speculation about the formation of a new political party, former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Miftah Ismail launched ‘Awam Pakistan,’ with a pledge to change the governance system of the country and deny political space to the "tainted" politicians.

"Politicians with tainted reputations won't be a part of Awaam Pakistan," said Khaqan, who served as prime minister during the PML-N’s 2013-18 stint in power, at the press conference in Islamabad flanked by Ismail and ex-PML-N leader Mehtab Abbasi.

The party's launch comes after Khaqan and Miftah Miftah had parted ways from the ruling party following their differences with the leadership in recent months.

Giving rise to speculations about a new political platform, Khaqan in April approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the registration of a new party.

Meanwhile, Ismail also hinted at the launch of a new party aimed at changing the entire governance system of the country with the masses as core sources of decision-making, last month.

In a hard-hitting press conference today, the former prime minister bashed the incumbent government, saying that those won elections on the basis of “Form-47” — reference to the alleged manipulation in the election results — can't build the country.

"We are just concerned about power, not about the country. Parties keep forming in Pakistan for specific purposes," he said, adding that they had not invited anyone to join the newly-launched Awam Pakistan party.

Electables are part of the politics but not acceptable, he added.

Without naming anyone, the ex-prime minister said that he and his fellow leaders remained a part of a particular political party in good or bad times but couldn't be a part of it anymore just for the sake of power.

"The government consists of a handful of elites who don't want to change the system," Khaqan added.

'Predatory system can't continue'

Speaking at the occasion, Miftah came hard on the existing system in the country saying that "predatory" set-up cannot continue.

"Are you running East India Company," he said, adding that the "system of the hunter and the hunted cannot continue".

Lambasting the federal government for its budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, the ex-finance czar said that those earning merely Rs50,000 per month are asked to pay tax, but no tax is demanded from the one owning thousands of acres of land.

"The tax on the salaried class has been doubled in the budget [...] the middle class is being crushed," Miftah said, stressing that the budget in essence is a reflection of the ruling elite's priorities.

The ex-minister's comments refer to the tax-heavy Finance Bill 2024, which was assented by President Asif Ali Zardari last week, wherein the government has set out a challenging tax revenue target of Rs13 trillion for the year starting July 1, up about 40% from the current year to strengthen the case for a new rescue deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The rise in the tax target is made up of a 48% increase in direct taxes and a 35% hike in indirect taxes over revised estimates of the current year. Non-tax revenue, including petroleum levies, is seen increasing by a whopping 64%.

Referring to the recently announced anti-terrorism drive "Operation Azm-e-Istehkam," the politician said: "Today we are going to conduct another operation [...] why these operations are needed again and again because you cannot end poverty."

His remarks come as the federal cabinet last week approved the launch of the counter-terrorism operation following the National Action Plan's Central Apex Committee's recommendations to root out militance from the country.

With opposition parties voicing concerns over the anti-terror operation, the government has decided to convene an all-parties conference (APC) "to gain political parties’ confidence" over its decision.

Another insignificant party like istekam e pakistan.
You need popularity like Imran Khan to break the two party system (alongside backing of the establishment ofcourse).
We need fixed parties with clear political positions so its obvious where they differ. Instead we have a bunch of parties who call each other criminals but practically have the exact same policies, mindsets and even people (the ones who jump from party to party).
The illusion of diversity approved the establishment
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