Pak­istan set to elect new prime min­is­ter on Tues­day

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Pak­istan’s law­mak­ers will elect a new prime min­is­ter on Tues­day to re­place ousted leader Nawaz Sharif, with rul­ing party stal­wart Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi ex­pected to be­come in­terim leader un­til Sharif’s own brother is el­i­gi­ble.

The con­fir­ma­tion from par­lia­ment came af­ter Pak­istan’s Pres­i­dent Mam­noon Hus­sain con­vened a spe­cial ses­sion fol­low­ing Sharif’s de­ci­sion to put for­ward his ally Ab­basi as in­terim leader and named his brother Shah­baz, 65, as longterm suc­ces­sor.

Sharif’s Pak­istan Mus­lim League-Nawaz ( PML-N) party holds a ma­jor­ity with 188 seats in the 342-mem­ber par­lia­ment, so it should be able to swiftly in­stall its choice, bar­ring any de­fec­tions from its own ranks.

A quick han­dover could ease po­lit­i­cal up­heaval sparked by the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion on Fri­day to dis­qual­ify Sharif for not declar­ing a source of in­come. The court also or­dered a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into him and his fam­ily.

Ab­basi on Sun­day vowed to con­tinue Sharif’s work.

“I hope that God will help me in fur­ther­ing Nawaz Shar- if’s poli­cies,” Ab­basi told re­porters in Is­lam­abad, adding to spec­u­la­tion that Sharif will con­tinue to run the show be­hind the scenes.

The tur­moil and the pre­ma­ture end to Sharif’s third stint in power has also raised ques­tions about Pak­istan’s democ­racy as no prime min­is­ter has com­pleted a full term in power since in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish colo­nial rule in 1947.

“We wanted to make sure there is a smooth trans­fer of power, and no con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis,” said Mif­tah Is­mail, a se­nior PML-N of­fi­cial and Sharif ally.

Sharif has lashed out against the court’s de­ci­sion and op­po­nents who used the Supreme Court to top­ple him but vowed his party would con­tinue to fo­cus on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, tout­ing a faster-grow­ing econ­omy as proof of his suc­cess.

“Wheel of de­vel­op­ment is mov­ing and may God keep it rolling and may it never stop,” he told mem­bers of PML-N on Sat­ur­day night.

On Sharif’s ar­rival, sup­port­ers chanted, “The Lion is here.”

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