Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to continue as prime minister for 10-month PML-N tenure: sources
Pakistan’s newly-elected interim Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will continue as premier for the remaining 10-month tenure of PML-N as the party chief and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has indicated retaining his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif in the key province.
Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified by Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on July 28, had nominated his brother Shahbaz Sharif to succeed him after winning a by-election on his vacant seat in Lahore.
Abbasi, 58, was endorsed by Sharif to hold the post for the interim arrangement of 45 days (till mid-September) till Shahbaz makes to Islamabad.
“Sharif held a high-level huddle of PML-N senior leaders today in Murree to review his earlier decision to elevate Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to the Centre or not,” a PML-N senior leader said.
After Abbasi was elected prime minister last Tuesday, he said many in the Nawaz camp suggested that the former retain the position for the remaining term of the PML-N government as Punjab is very important for the party and cannot be left to an “inexperienced hand.”
“The PML-N legislators including Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah have conveyed to Sharif that it will not be a wise move to elevate Shahbaz in the Centre as there will be no experience hand in the party to run the largest province in his absence,” he said, adding that the Sharif camp does not want Shahbaz in the Centre as well.
There are also reports that Sharif’s refusal to nominate Shahbaz’s son Hamza as the chief minister of Punjab has annoyed him who might choose not to give up the post in the province because of it.
“Nawaz’s daughter Maryam is against handing over Punjab to Hamza while his father is at the Centre. But Shahbaz appeared too keen to keep both posts in the family. This is another reason of Shahbaz’s reluctance to leave Punjab to someone other than his son,” another PML-N insider said.
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