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Power plays: who could be Pakistan’s next PM?

ISLAMABAD, JUL 28 (DNA) – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was Friday ousted from the top office by the Supreme Court, but as the head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party he will be able to nominate his successor.

Sharif’s chosen candidate will be put to a vote in the National Assembly — a rubber stamp affair as the PML-N holds a strong majority in the house.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz is commonly touted as his political heir, but she does not currently hold elected office so cannot be a candidate this time around.

Pakistani politics often see dark horses emerge, but the most likely candidates for the country’s next prime minister are as follows:

Speculation within the vocal local media suggests that the party is planning to bring in an interim prime minister for a few weeks before electing Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif to the post.

The young Sharif is currently chief minister of powerful Punjab province — the Sharif family stronghold. He would have to step down from that role and be elected to the National Assembly before he was eligible to become prime minister.

That will require a party loyalist to resign from his seat in the national parliament, sparking a hasty vote that Shahbaz would contest on the PML-N ticket.

Shahbaz is considered more intelligent but less charismatic than his older brother.

He has controlled Punjab — Pakistan’s most populous and prosperous province — for much of the last decade, presiding over a series of big ticket infrastructure projects, including Pakistan’s first metro bus service.=DNA

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