Nawaz Sharif named Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as interim prime minister

Vastavam web: Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif today named former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim prime minister until his younger brother Shehbaz is elected as a member of parliament to succeed him as his eventual successor.”I support Shehbaz Sharif after me but he will take time to contest elections so for the time being I nominate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,” Sharif told his supporters.The decision was taken here in a meeting headed by Sharif and attended by the top party leaders who rallied behind the Sharifs, the country’s most powerful political family.

The court’s ruling abruptly ended Sharif’s third tenure as prime minister and forced the party’s top leadership to find his successor.Sharif first proposed the two names for party’s formal approval. “The parliamentary board approved the nomination by Sharif as mark of trust in him,” a party leader told.Abbasi, the 58-year-old loyalist of Sharif, is expected to serve for 45 days and will resign to let Shehbaz succeed as permanent premier, party sources said.It was decided to appoint Abbasi as interim prime minister to run the government until Shehbaz is elected as a member of parliament, they said.

Today’s meeting also decided to challenge Sharif’s disqualification through a review petition in the apex court.Lion is the election symbol of PML-N and it is frequently used by his supporters to highlight the courage of Sharif.Addressing the PML-N s parliamentary meeting, Sharif expressed disbelief at the grounds for his dismissal and vowed to continue to struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution.”I still do not understand the grounds for my dismissal…When I never took a salary, what would I declare,” he said, referring to the apex court’s ruling.

Sharif claimed that he did not receive any kickbacks or commissions and said, “I am proud that I have not been declared ineligible over charges of corruption.” He warned that Pakistan would face a disaster one day if the political uncertainty remains. “Terrorism would have been eliminated had the sit-ins not taken place,” he said.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.

Shehbaz would contest the election from NA-120, a constituency from Lahore which has become vacant due to disqualification of Sharif.According to party sources, it was a difficult decision to bring Shehbaz to Islamabad as it may create political vacuum in Punjab, which PML-N cannot afford ahead of next year elections.Hence, it was discussed to appoint permanent prime minister from the senior party leader for the remaining tenure of the government, which would end in June, 2018.Now when it has been decided that Shehbaz would be the premier, his son Hamza could be a choice for the post of Chief Minister of Punjab.