Shahid Khaqan Abbasi declared as interim prime minister

ISLAMABAD: Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has named former federal minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim prime minister of Pakistan, BBC ASIA reported.

Abbasi, who served as minister for petroleum and natural resources in Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet, will now serve for 45 days before the former PM’s brother and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif makes his way to the National Assembly and eventually gets elected as prime minister.

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday held two consultative meetings to tap his younger brother as his eventual successor.

The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) also deliberated on the political and legal options to finalise a replacement after he was disqualified in the Panama Papers case by the Supreme Court.

Former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and former Ehtesab Commission chairman Saif-ur-Rehman also attended the party’s consultative meeting along with Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Tanveer and Abdul Qadir Baloch. Another consultative session is being held with the party’s core parliamentary committee.

Nawaz Sharif has taken his allies into confidence over the decision and called Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and National Party chief Mir Hasil Bizejo.

Shahbaz Sharif will resign from his seat in the Punjab Assembly and as chief minister of the province. He will be elected on Nawaz’s constituency in NA-120 Lahore, a stronghold of PML-N, and eventually be elected as the next prime minister.

Punjab Excise and Taxation Rehman Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah being tipped as likely replacement of incumbent chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Abbasi served as the minister for petroleum and natural resources in the cabinet of Nawaz Sharif. He is considered a loyalist and was even arrested when Nawaz Sharif’s government was overthrown in 1999 by a military coup.

He was first elected in 1988 after the death of his father. He lost the 2002 elections to a Pakistan People’s Party candidate. He also had a short stint as minister in the cabinet of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani.

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