Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected interim Prime Minister of Pakistan until Shehbaz Sharif wins by-election

Senior PML-N leader and former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will run the PML-N government as interim prime minister of Pakistan until Nawaz Sharif's brother Shehbaz is elected as member of parliament, according to Pakistan media reports.

Abbasi got elected after getting 221 votes in the House of 342. Naveed Qamar of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) got 47 votes, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf got 33 while Jamaat-e-Islami's Sahibzada Tariqullah managed just four votes.

After announcing the results amid sloganeering, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq asked Abbasi to take the seat of the prime minister and address the House.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected interim Prime Minister of Pakistan until Shehbaz Sharif wins by-election

File image of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. ANI/Twitter

The voting was done with four corners being designated for four candidates where supporters of each candidate recorded their vote.

After the voting and counting process, many of the PML-N National Assembly members entered the House with posters of Sharif. The National Assembly Speaker objected to this and asked them to put away the placards and posters.

Abbasi will be sworn-in in later at a special ceremony at the President's House, where President Mamnoon Hussain will administer the oath to him.

The Supreme Court Friday disqualified 67-year-old Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the embattled leader out of office.

Geo TV reported that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to appoint Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister in an informal meeting which went on for three hours.

Former petroleum minister Abbasi will be appointed as interim prime minister to run the country until Shehbaz is elected as member of parliament, it added.

The final announcement will be made by Nawaz Sharif in the formal parliamentary party meeting of PML-N which is taking place in Islamabad a day after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court.

Party sources had earlier said that Sharif proposed the name of his younger brother Shehbaz in a meeting on Friday and none of the participants raised any objection to the proposal.

But Shehbaz, 65, cannot immediately replace his brother as he is not an MP. In order to become the prime minister, he would have to be elected first.

Hence, Abbasi has been named as interim prime minister who will resign once Shehbaz is elected.

Pakistan has seen such arrangements in the past too. During former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf’s time, politician Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was appointed as an interim prime minister until Shaukat Aziz, who was nominated by Musharraf, got elected by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PMLQ).

Shehbaz Sharif is the son of late Mian Muhammad Sharif and brother of Nawaz Sharif. Currently, Shehbaz is the chief minister of Pakistan's most populous province, Punjab, as mentioned in a previous Firstpost article.

He began his political career as a member of the Punjab Assembly in 1988. Thereafter, Shehbaz became the opposition leader of Punjab Assembly in 1993. Pakistan Herald describes him as a reformer who "has changed the shape of Punjab and developed it according to modern standards".

Earlier, from 1997 to 1999, Shehbaz had held the position of Punjab chief minister, according to a report in Dawn. However, he spent years of self-exile in Saudi Arabia, before returning to Pakistan in 2007, as per the article.

Along with Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were also in contention to replace Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz Sharif's decision to step down brought an unceremonious end to his term in power, roughly a year before the scheduled General Election.

Had Nawaz Sharif stayed in power till the scheduled elections, he would have become the first Prime Minister of Pakistan to complete a full five-year term.

According to IANS, Opposition party politicians were elated as the Pakistan Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a landmark decision on Friday in the Panama Papers case.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while addressing the press soon after the judgement, said: "It's a historic day, let's strengthen Pakistan, let's get rid of terrorism from the country."

With inputs from PTI


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Updated Date: Aug 01, 2017 18:18:50 IST

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