Ousted Pakistan PM's brother becomes party leader, now closer to power

Posted March 02, 2018

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday elected ousted prime minister as its "Quaid" (supreme leader) for life and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as its acting president. "Raja Zafarul Haq, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's proposal elicited a resounding approval from the CWC", Nawaz's daughter Maryam tweeted.

PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq proposed Nawaz's elevation as "quaid for life", saying, "Mian Nawaz Sharif was, is and Inshallah will remain the leader of the PML-N".

Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province and brother of Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gestures after appearing before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in Islamabad, Pakistan.

"Nawaz proposed Shahbaz's name for the party's interim president and all more than 100 CWC members approved his name unanimously".

The Central Working Committee of the PML-N met in Lahore to elect Shehbaz Sharif as party's acting president.

The party will also hold another meeting on March 6 for intraparty elections to elect Shahbaz Sharif as the permanent president.

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It is believed that the PML-N leadership has taken the decision about its next Punjab chief, but it has more than a month to fill up this vacancy.

Elections Act 2017 was pushed through the upper and lower houses of the parliament earlier and had paved the way for Nawaz to resume his position as party president after being disqualified in the Panama Papers case. Afterwards, the party's general council is required to elect the president within 45 days. PML (N) is still expected to emerge as the biggest party in Senate.

"At the moment, there is no candidate for the slot of interim president of PML-N other than Shahbaz Sharif".

"How long will this keep happening and how long can the country function like this?" asked Nawaz, who was ousted from the post of prime minister by the Supreme Court past year for dishonesty in declaring his assets.

After his disqualification as prime minister, the ruling PML-N amended the Constitution to allow him to retain his chairmanship of the party.

The emergency measures kicked in after the Supreme Court on Feb 22 struck off a controversial amendment to the Elections Act, 2017 which had previous year paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to resume leadership of the party after being disqualified in the Panamagate case in July 2017.

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