Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab province chief minister and brother of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is set to become the new chief of Pakistan's ruling PML-N party, with a senior minister indicating that he was the "most competent" person to hold the post.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been forced to announce a new head after the Supreme Court last week also disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the president of the party.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said the PML-N will announce the name of its new party president tomorrow, state-run Radio Pakistan quoted her as saying.
"Shahbaz Sharif is the most competent and appropriate person for the slot", she told reporters.
Shahbaz Sharif, 66, is the Chief Minister of Punjab province since June, 2013. He is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, who had to resign as prime minister in July last year in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal.
If appointed, Shahbaz will lead the PML-N in the 2018 parliamentary polls.
She said the Central Executive Committee and Central Working Committee of PML-N will meet tomorrow to deliberate on electing the next party president following the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.
Last week, the Supreme Court had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party.
The apex court's verdict was in response to 17 petitions challenging the controversial Elections Act 2017, which had been bulldozed through parliament last year to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif's return to the PML-N's helm as party president.
The minister said, "Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is the most competent and appropriate person for the slot [of party president] given his political acumen and performance in Punjab province."
Nawaz Sharif had earlier been declared unfit to hold public office in the landmark Panama Papers judgement, in which a five-member bench of the Supreme Court had unanimously ruled that the former prime minister had not been 'honest' and 'truthful' in discharging his obligations as a lawmaker.