The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday appointed Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to take over as Pakistan's interim prime minister for 45 days, even as ousted Nawaz Sharif rallied behind his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif.
Abbasi, who held the portfolio of Petroleum and Natural Gas, will be incharge till the time Shahbaz is elected to Parliament, and then to the prime minister's office.
Shahbaz's ascension to the prime minister's office was considered to be a foregone conclusion, as the PML-N continues to hold a hefty majority in Parliament and can independently vote him into office.
He will likely seek election to the National Assembly from Nawaz Sharif's vacated seat, which was a PML-N stronghold, Dawn reported.
If the parliamentary party validates the decision, Shahbaz will have to resign from the Punjab Assembly and a new provincial chief minister will have to be chosen. Shahbaz will then have to get elected from the seat left vacant by the elder Sharif.
The meeting, expected to be the last under Sharif in the Prime Minister House, was attended by close aides of the outgoing prime minister, including Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq, Saad Rafique, Rana Tanveer, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Shahbaz Sharif.
Sources claim that PML-N leaders and former federal ministers Rana Tanveer, Khurram Dastgir were front-runners for interim post. Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman was likely to replace Shahbaz as the Punjab Chief Minister.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the embattled leader to resign.