Ab­basi to be in­terim Pak PM till Shah­baz gets elected as MP

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Is­lam­abad: Pak­istan’s ousted Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif on Satur­day named for­mer Petroleum Min­is­ter Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi as the in­terim Prime Min­is­ter un­til his younger brother Shah­baz is elected as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment to be­come his even­tual suc­ces­sor. The de­ci­sion was taken at a meet­ing of top PML-N lead­ers.

Pak­istan’s politi­cians are not paragons of pro­bity, but cor­rup­tion is not the main rea­son for Mr. Sharif’s predica­ment ... The judges have be­come me­di­a­court­ing pop­ulists and have typ­i­cally joined forces with the mil­i­tary by us­ing al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion against dis­obe­di­ent prime min­is­ters Aqil Shah, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of South Asian pol­i­tics at the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa, in an op-ed in the NewYorkTimes

PAK­ISTAN’S ousted prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif Satur­day named for­mer petroleum min­is­ter Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi as the in­terim prime min­is­ter un­til his younger brother She­hbaz is elected as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment to suc­ceed him as his even­tual suc­ces­sor.

“I sup­port She­hbaz Sharif after me but he will take time to con­test elec­tions so for the time be­ing I nom­i­nate Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi,” Sharif told his sup­port- ers. The de­ci­sion was taken here in a meet­ing headed by Sharif and at­tended by the top party lead­ers who ral­lied be­hind the Shar­ifs, the coun­try’s most pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal family.

The Supreme Court Fri­day dis­qual­i­fied 67-year-old Sharif for dis­hon­esty and ruled that cor­rup­tion cases be filed against him and his chil­dren over the Panama Pa­pers scan­dal, forc­ing the em­bat­tled leader out of of­fice. The court’s rul­ing abruptly ended Sharif ’s third ten­ure as prime min­is­ter and forced the party’s top lead­er­ship to find his suc­ces­sor. Sharif first pro­posed the two names for party’s for­mal ap­proval. “The par­lia­men­tary board ap­proved the nom­i­na­tion by Sharif as mark of trust in him,” a party leader told PTI.

But She­hbaz, the 65-year-old chief min­is­ter of Pun­jab, can­not im­me­di­ately re­place his brother as he is not an MP. Ab­basi, the 58-year-old loy­al­ist of Sharif, is ex­pected to serve for 45 days and will re­sign to let She­hbaz suc­ceed as per­ma­nent pre­mier, party sources said.

It was de­cided to ap­point Ab­basi as in­terim prime min­is­ter to run the gov­ern­ment un­til She­hbaz is elected as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment, they said.

Pak­istan has seen such ar­range­ments in the past too. Dur­ing for­mer mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor Gen Pervez Mushar­raf ’s time, politi­cian Chaudhry Shu­jaat Hus­sain was ap­pointed as an in­terim prime min­is­ter un­til Shaukat Aziz, who was nom­i­nated by Mushar­raf, got elected by the rul­ing Pak­istan Mus­lim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PMLQ).

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