Pakistan's ruling party to choose Nawaz Sharif's brother Shehbaz as premier

Trevor Jackson
July 31, 2017

The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified 67-year-old Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the embattled leader out of office.

Since Mr. Shahbaz Sharif is now serving as Chief Minister of Punjab province, he will have to be elected on a National Assembly seat to get the slot of Prime Minister.

If elected, the interim leader would remain in power for at least 45 days until Shahbaz quits as the chief of Punjab and wins a by-election to the National Assembly. "However, [it is up to] Nawaz Sharif to decide whether Hamza will be the right choice for the post or not", said a senior PML-N legislator from Punjab.

Parliamentary elections are due in Pakistan next year and Sharif's party is hopeful for a resounding victory despite the fact that the Sharif family will continue to be investigated by the National Accountability Bureau.

Sharif's allies have privately spoken of a "judicial coup" and say every parliamentarian would likely fail the Article 62 test, including opposition leader Khan, who also has a pending Supreme Court case against him over undeclared income.

Sharif was re-elected in 1997 and ordered Pakistan's first nuclear tests, but a showdown with the nation's powerful military saw his second term end prematurely as well.

The quick handover looks to ease political upheaval sparked by the Supreme Court's decision on Friday to disqualify Sharif for concealing his assets.

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"I do not think there will be any significant change in the political situation", she said and pointed out that Shahbaz has a long political experience and he could overcome the current crisis.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to be appointed as the interim prime minister. The election of the interim Prime Minister will take place on Tuesday. In 2003, an anti-terrorism court issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of ordering extrajudicial killings of five people in a fake police encounter in 1998 while he was the Punjab CM.

In the General Elections 2013, Nawaz Sharif had secured 91,683 votes by winning the seat against 52,354 votes of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s candidate Yasmin Rashid.

Following the court verdict, Sharif quit.

The process to appoint a new PM started yesterday when Sharif chaired the PML-N meeting and proposed the name of Shehbaz and none of the participants raised any objection. He was sworn in as the chief minister of Punjab on February 20, 1997, after being elected to the Assembly for the third time.

The PML-N can not afford to lose its grip on Punjab since the next general elections are barely a year away.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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