‘Tainted politicians will not be part of Awaam Pakistan’: Khaqan Abbasi, Miftah Ismail launch new party

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'Tainted politicians will not be part of Awaam Pakistan': Khaqan Abbasi, Miftah Ismail launch new party

ISLAMABAD, JUL 6: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Saturday said that “tainted” politicians will not be part of the newly launched political party “Awaam Pakistan”.

“Politicians with tainted reputations will not be a part of Awaam Pakistan,” Khaqan said while speaking at a press conference in Islamabad flanked by his former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Miftah Ismail and Mehtab Abbasi.

The party’s launching comes as Khaqan, along with Miftah, ex-Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar had parted ways from their former parties after developing differences with their leadership in recent months

With the trio hinting at establishing a new political platform for months, Abbasi, in April of this year, approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the registration of a new political party.

The party’s today’s launch was announced last month by Miftah, who while speaking to Geo News, said that their party aimed to change the entire governance system of the country with the masses as core sources of decision-making.

‘Predatory system cannot continue’
Speaking at the occasion, Miftah said that the existing “predatory” system cannot continue in the country.

“Are you running East India Company,” Miftah said, adding: “This 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%.

Addressing 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.