Pakistan Prime Minister resigns after Supreme Court disqualification

Pakistan Prime Minister resigns after Supreme Court disqualification

Former petroleum minister to lead country till ex-prime minister's brother, Shahbaz Sheikh, is elected to the postISLAMABAD Pakistan's ruling party has appointed Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as interim prime minister after the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, while Sharif's brother has been chosen as his long-term successor.

According to party sources, Sharif was conscious that bringing Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz to Islamabad may create political vacuum in the crucial state, which PML-N can not afford ahead of next year elections.

Following the verdict, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson announced Nawaz Sharif had stepped down as the prime minister by acceding to the court orders despite having reservations, leaving the National Assembly seat vacant.

PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said that the party had made a decision to field Dr. Yasmin Rashid against Shahbaz Sharif for NA-120 by-polls.

The final nomination will be recognised in the party's parliamentary meeting. "His departure would have an adverse effect on Pakistan's foreign relations", said Farooqi.

The elder Mr Sharif said that he had received suggestions in favour of his brother for the next prime minister, which was met with applause by party members at the gathering, sources told Pakistan's Dawn.

A quick handover could ease political upheaval sparked by the supreme court's decision on Friday to disqualify Mr Sharif for not declaring a source of income.

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

The court has recommended anti-corruption cases against several individuals, including Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband Safdar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others. He was forced to step down during his first term as Prime Minister after a family-owned business, Ittefaq Industries, grew tremendously while he was in office.

The rally also came after opposition leader Imran Khan asked his supporters to reach Islamabad on Sunday to celebrate Nawaz Sharif removal. In 2003, an anti-terrorism court issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of ordering extrajudicial killings of five people in a fake police encounter in 1998 while he was the Punjab CM.

Mr Sharif's opponents have called the PML-N's succession plans dynastic and undemocratic.

"I was not expecting what happened to me yesterday", he said.

However, Shehbaz could not complete his term as he was removed from his post and forcibly exiled to Saudi Arabia following the military coup in 1999. Shehbaz will steer the country until the next General Election scheduled for 2018.

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