Pakistan's ruling party to pick ousted PM's brother as his successor

Powerplays: Who could be next PM?

Pakistan's ruling party will nominate Punjab's chief minister Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister ahead of elections next year, after his older brother resigned from the post following a historic Supreme Court ruling on Friday that barred him from office.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) holds a commanding majority in parliament, and the party's nominee Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to be approved in the parliamentary vote on August 1.

Top sources in Sharif's ruling PML-N party said his wife Kulsoom Nawaz and brother Shehbaz Sharif are the front-runners.

Hence, an interim prime minister would have to be chosen from among Sharif's confidants who will resign once Shehbaz is elected. "This is really disturbing", he said but vowed that Sharif would now be more active in politics than before.

Parliamentary elections are due in Pakistan next year and Sharif's party is hopeful for a resounding victory despite the fact that the Sharif family will continue to be investigated by the National Accountability Bureau.

PML-N is contemplating all possibilities from all aspects before it reaches a final decision with regard to new provincial chief minister as incumbent CM Shahbaz Sharif will replace his toppled brother Nawaz Sharif by contesting NA-120 by-polls. "His departure would have an adverse effect on Pakistan's foreign relations", said Farooqi.

According to the insiders, however, the final say on who gets to helm Punjab would rest with ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is looking to consolidate the party's control in Punjab, the Dawn said.

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The court ruled that Nawaz Sharif had "furnished a false declaration" and is "not honest" under the provisions of the country's constitution and therefore he is disqualified to be a member of the parliament.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to be appointed as the interim prime minister.

"I was not expecting what happened to me yesterday", he said.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan earlier advised Mr Sharif to accept Friday's verdict.

At the Saturday meeting, PML-N also chose to challenge Nawaz Sharif's disqualification through a review petition in the apex court. In the past the army has dismissed claims they are behind Supreme Court's push against Sharif. In 1999, military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf overthrew Sharif in a bloodless coup and exiled him to Saudi Arabia.

The next two prime ministers of Pakistan have been named. Shehbaz will steer the country until the next General Election scheduled for 2018. It was the third time that Nawaz was unable to complete his term in the chief executive's office. ALSO READ: Nawaz Sharif Disqualified Forever?

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