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Pakistan to elect new prime minister on Tuesday

Nawaz 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.

world Updated: Jul 30, 2017 20:27 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Nawaz Sharif,Pakistan PM,PML-N
Nawaz 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.(Reuters File Photo)

Pakistan’s Parliament will meet on Tuesday to elect a new prime minister after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

The confirmation from Parliament came after President Mamnoon Hussain convened a special session following Sharif’s decision to put forward his ally and longtime loyalist Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as interim leader and named his brother Shahbaz, 65, as long-term successor.

The opposition is expected to name a candidate to challenge Abbasi in a vote in Parliament, but Sharif’s PML-N holds a majority with 188 seats in the 342-member Parliament, and the former petroleum and natural resources minister is expected to win, barring any defections from party ranks.

Sharif said the plan is for Abbasi to stay in power until Shahbaz, who is the chief minister of the vast Punjab province, wins a by-election to the national assembly and becomes eligible to be prime minister.

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 Sharif’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 1947.

Meanwhile, Nawaz his wife Kulsum Nawaz, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law Captain Safdar vacated the Prime Minister’s House on Sunday and departed for Murree. Former finance minister Ishaq Dar met the PM House’s staff before he too left for Murree.

(With Reuters inputs)

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 19:23 IST