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Shahid Khakan Abbasi to replace Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's Interim Prime Minister

Shahid Khakan Abbasi to replace Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's Interim Prime Minister”

A senior leader from Pakistan's ruling party says deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has named former government minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as his successor after the country's Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office for concealing assets.

Haq said that although the court in Friday's ruling asked figurehead President Mamnoon Hussain to "ensure continuation of the democratic process", the reality was that the country was still facing a political crisis.

It was also decided that Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz, who currently is chief minister of the powerful Punjab province, will run for the National Assembly seat now vacant with Sharif's disqualification by the Supreme Court. He said history would now decide whether the court's decision was good for Pakistan.

Sharif proposed Abbasi as interim prime minister at the meeting of Pakistan Muslim League party in Islamabad.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who headed the three-judge implementation bench, said: "He is disqualified as a member of the Parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister".

A second source close to Sharif confirmed Abbasi will be appointed before Shahbaz takes over. On the one hand, it could bolster a culture of accountability and uproot the dynastic politics epitomised by the Sharif family, while on the other, it could pave the way for military autocracy, which has been largely responsible for policymaking that has made Pakistan the hub of terrorism, corruption and a governance nightmare.

The governing political party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, must now choose an interim prime minister to replace Sharif until the next general election, which is scheduled for mid-2018.

Shahbaz Sharif, however, can not step into the role right away because he is not a member of the National Assembly.

The opposition could also field a candidate for the premiership, though the nominee has little chance of getting sufficient votes.

According to media reports, Abbasi's name was agreed upon in the meeting of the PML-N's advisory meeting by all members on Saturday.

"I have no regrets". "This was not a personal fight between me and the Sharifs".

Ever since the joint investigation team (JIT) submitted its report to the Supreme Court on July 10, both national and worldwide media had speculated about the fate of Nawaz Sharif and his family.

In his first televised comments Saturday since the decision, Sharif said he was removed by the Supreme Court on Friday over "baseless allegations". Opposition leader Imran Khan, who has spearheaded the push against Sharif, hailed the verdict as ushering in a new dawn for Pakistan.

He lamented that no Pakistani prime minister was allowed to complete his constitutional term.

The court ordered NAB to file the references within six weeks before the accountability court of Rawalpindi-Islamabad on the basis of the material collected and referred to by the Joint Investigating Team (JIT) that probed into Sharif's offshore assets as revealed in April previous year by Panama Papers. The PML-N has consistently and noisily denied the accusations, insisting that the dynasty's wealth was acquired legally through Sharif family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.



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