Pakistan to elect new prime minister on Tuesday

Posted July 31, 2017

Nawaz Sharif on Friday resigned as Pakistan Prime Minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.

The ouster of Sharif has plunged the country into yet another crisis, and the ruling PML-N plans to appoint Nawaz's brother and the chief minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, as the next PM.

Shahbaz Sharif, 65, the chief minister of the vast Punjab province that accounts for more than half of Pakistan's 190 million people, will also need to resign from his regional post.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakistan's petroleum minister and a loyalist of the Sharif administration, has now assumed office as interim prime minister [WP report].

The final nomination will be recognised in the party's parliamentary meeting.

PML-N is contemplating all possibilities from all aspects before it reaches a final decision with regard to new provincial chief minister as incumbent CM Shahbaz Sharif will replace his toppled brother Nawaz Sharif by contesting NA-120 by-polls.

He has also represented Pakistan at several global forums including the United Nations, where his views and speaking prowess were appreciated. Sharif was the country's 20th Prime Minister.

He nominated former Oil Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as an interim prime minister.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to be appointed as the interim prime minister. At the same time we laud the executive's respect for the judiciary in accepting the verdict of the court and avoiding a potentially politically destabilising situation had Sharif chosen not to accept the ruling.

As the unanimous verdict by the five-judge Bench was read out by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan inside Supreme Court, a large number of Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers celebrated outside.

At the Saturday meeting, PML-N also chose to challenge Nawaz Sharif's disqualification through a review petition in the apex court.

"Different options were discussed in a similar meeting yesterday but no decision was taken", he said.

No civilian prime minister in Pakistan has ever completed a full term in office.

The son of an industrialist, Sharif saw both of his first two stints in power cut short in the 1990s, including in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. Elections are expected to be held by May 2018.

Marvi Sarmad, a senior political and security analyst, said Shraif's PML-N party could win more sympathies and votes in the coming elections in the wake of the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif on a very minor issue.