Islamabad – Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif named his brother Shahbaz to be his political successor, and former Oil Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as acting prime minister.
Sharif’s move followed the Supreme Court’s decision to sack the premier for corruption allegations against his family.
The decision was taken in Islamabad during a meeting headed by Sharif and attended by the top party leaders who support the country’s most powerful political family.
“I support Shehbaz Sharif after me but he will take time to contest elections so for the time being I nominate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,” Sharif told the meeting.
Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party has a strong majority in parliament and would easily install Abbasi as the new leader of the country.
Sharif lashed out against the court’s decision and opponents who used the Supreme Court to topple him but vowed his party would continue to focus on economic development.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Election Commission confirmed that a new vote would be held in Nawaz Sharif’s electoral constituency.
Imran Khan, the opposition leader and the main political opponent of Sharif, who led the move against the prime minister, hailed the ruling of the Supreme Court, considering it to be a “good omen” for Pakistan.
He noted that all who “looted the nation’s wealth should face a similar court action”.
However, observers denounced the verdict and described it as “politicized” and “formal”.
Lawyer and Human Rights Activist Asma Jehangir told Pakistani Geo News private channel that the military institution was using the courts to undermine democracy.
The army disagrees with the policies of Sharif, who has made several attempts to open up to India – Pakistan’s regional rival – and improve relations with it.