Abbasi to be Interim Pakistan PM Till Shehbaz Gets Elected as MP

Geneva Matthews
July 31, 2017

Pakistan's ruling party named senior lawmaker Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as successor to the deposed prime minister on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Court removed Nawaz Sharif from office for concealing assets.

Shahbaz Sharif is known to enjoy "a degree of comfort in dealing with his son", the Dawn newspaper reported, quoting insiders in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

However he only holds only a provincial seat and therefore must be elected to the national assembly before becoming prime minister. But Mr Nawaz Sharif is said to have shown little interest in the suggestion, neither agreeing nor disagreeing to it.

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.

"Now that the short but final judgement has been analysed by the legal community, the political class and the citizenry in detail, the implications of it for politics in Pakistan need to be forthrightly addressed", it said. The Bhutto-Zardari clan, the other political family in the country, battled allegations of massive graft which included the nickname of the "10 per cent man" for Asif Ali Zardari, husband of prime minister and slain Benazir Bhutto.

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

Shehbaz is not a member of the National Assembly or Senate, and in order to be appointed as the Prime Minister of the country, he will have to get elected to the Senate. He was forced to step down during his first term as Prime Minister after a family-owned business, Ittefaq Industries, grew tremendously while he was in office.

Sources said PML-N is expected to finalise the name for the interim Prime Minister on Saturday.

Sharif did not withdraw the salary, court documents show, but the five-member bench ruled his failure to disclose its existence meant he was not "honest" - a requirement for Pakistani politicians under the country's Constitution.

But Khalid Hameed Farooqi, a Brussels-based Pakistani journalist who covers diplomatic affairs, told DW that Sharif's ouster has reflected negatively on Pakistan.

No civilian prime minister in Pakistan has ever completed a full term in office. She was defeated by Sharif in the 2013 general election. He was chairman of Pakistan International Airlines from 1997 to 1999 when General Musharraf overthrew Sharif's government. It also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to issue a notification declaring the Nawaz's disqualification.

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