Pakistan’s ruling PML-N party on Saturday named former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim prime minister until ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother Shehbaz is elected as a member of parliament to succeed him as his eventual successor. 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 Supreme Court on 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.
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. Since Shehbaz is not a member of parliament and cannot succeed his brother immediately, 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. The meeting also approved that Sharif’s disqualification would be challenged in through a review petition in the apex court.