Shahbaz to succeed Nawaz; Khaqan to be interim PM

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Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Parliamentary Party meeting of PML (N) chaired by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday decided that Shahbaz Sharif will succeed Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was till Friday the petroleum minister, will take over as interim prime minister till the time Shahbaz is elected to parliament, and then to the prime minister’s office.
“If you support anyone after me, I ask you to support Shahbaz Sharif,” said Nawaz during the PML-N parliamentary party meeting held at the Punjab House on Saturday.
Nawaz Sharif also announced that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will be the interim candidate until Shahbaz is elected to a National Assembly seat.
“It will take Shahbaz Sharif 50-55 days to take over as prime minister. He will have to contest elections. For the interim period, I am recommending Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the position of prime minister.”
Speaking to reporters, interim PM-designate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the decision came from party leadership, adding that he would try to put Pakistan’s economy back on track.
As part of the agreed-on course of action, Shahbaz will also have to forego his seat in the Punjab Assembly and his successor will need to be chosen. Sources claim that Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman is likely to replace Shahbaz as the chief minister Punjab.
Abbasi, during the meeting, said that the party had made a decision and everyone had acted on it. “There is no conflict in the party. We may have given in, but history will not accept SC decision . The nation has also not accepted this decision,” he added.
The names were finalised over the course of two meetings on Saturday attended by close aides of the outgoing prime minister. One was an informal meeting including Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq, Saad Rafique, Rana Tanveer, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Shahbaz Sharif along with other members of the PML-N’s leadership; the other was a full meeting of the PML-N’s parliamentary committee.
The meetings came as the PML-N deliberated its political and legal options after Nawaz’s disqualification and mulled over who would take over the party’s reins in parliament. In the parliamentary committee meeting Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) decided to challenge the Supreme Court verdict of disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.
Spokesman of former Prime Minister Musadik Malik has confirmed that PML-N will file a review petition against Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification in Supreme Court. He said the party accepted the verdict against Nawaz Sharif to uphold the rule of law.
The counsel of Nawaz Sharif will submit a review petition in the top court, challenging the disqualification based on Article 62 (f). While addressing the gathering, the former PM said that the nation knows he has not been declared ineligible over corruption.

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