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Shahbaz tipped as successor to Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as Interim PM

ISLAMABAD, JUL 29 (DNA) – PML-N leaders, in a meeting headed by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, on Saturday decided to rally behind Nawaz’s younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, as his eventual successor.

Additionally, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was till Friday the petroleum minister, was tapped to take over as interim prime minister till the time Shahbaz is elected to parliament, and then to the prime minister’s office.

Shahbaz’s ascension to the prime minister’s office is considered to be a foregone conclusion, as the PML-N continues to hold a hefty majority in parliament and can independently vote him into office. He will also likely seek election to the National Assembly from Nawaz Sharif’s vacated seat, which is a PML-N stronghold.

As part of the agreed-on course of action, Shahbaz will also have to forego his seat in the Punjab Assembly and his successor will need to be chosen. Sources claim that Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman is likely to replace Shahbaz as the chief minister Punjab.

A formal announcement in this regard has yet to be made.

The names were finalised in a meeting attended by close aides of the outgoing prime minister, including Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq, Saad Rafique, Rana Tanveer, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Shahbaz Sharif along with other members of the PML-N’s leadership.

Another meeting, of the PML-N’s parliamentary committee, is ongoing. The party’s leadership is expected to lend its full support to the two candidates and debate future courses of action.

The meetings came as the PML-N deliberated its political and legal options after Nawaz’s disqualification and mulled over who would take over the party’s reins in parliament.=DNA

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