Shahid Abbasi likely to continue as Pakistan PM for remaining 10-month PML-N tenure, say party sources

Lahore: Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is likely to continue as premier for the remaining 10-month tenure of PML-N as the party chief Nawaz Sharif has hinted retaining his younger brother Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the key province.

Former prime minister Sharif who was disqualified by Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on 28 July had nominated Shehbaz to succeed him after winning a by-election on his vacant seat in Lahore.

File image of Shahid Abbasi. Getty Images

File image of Shahid Abbasi. Getty Images

Abbasi, 58, was endorsed by Sharif to hold the post for interim arrangement of 45 days (till mid-September) till Shehbaz makes to Islamabad.

"Sharif is holding a high-level huddle of PML-N senior leaders today (Thursday) in Murree to review his earlier decision to elevate Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif to the Centre or not," a PML-N senior leader told PTI.

After Abbasi was elected prime minister on Tuesday, he said many in the Nawaz camp suggested that the former retain the position for the remaining term of the PML-N government as Punjab is very important for the party and cannot be left to an "inexperienced hand".

"The PML-N legislators including Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah have conveyed to Sharif that it will not be a wise move to elevate Shehbaz in the Centre as there will be no experience hand in the party to run the largest province in his absence," he said, adding that the Sharif camp does not want Shehbaz in the Centre as well.

There are also reports that Sharif's refusal to nominate Shehbaz's son Hamza as the chief minister of Punjab has annoyed him who might choose not to give up the post in the province because of it.

"Nawaz’s daughter Maryam is against handing over Punjab to Hamza while his father is at the Centre. But Shehbaz appeared too keen to keep both posts in the family. This is another reason of Shehbaz's reluctance to leave Punjab to someone other than his son," another PML-N insider said.

The Shehbaz government’s spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan told PTI that the party leadership is sitting together to revisit its earlier decision of endorsing Shehbaz for prime minister.

"The final decision whether Shehbaz Sharif will contest from the Lahore National Assembly seat (NA-120) to succeed Abbasi will be taken in a day or two," he added.


Published Date: Aug 03, 2017 05:35 pm | Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017 05:35 pm


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