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

Glen Norman
March 1, 2018

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Tuesday selected ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz Sharif as its president, Reuters reported.

A PML-N insider said that Nawaz Sharif had finalised his younger brother's nomination for the slot of party president after consulting his wife Kulsoom, daughter Maryam Nawaz, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, former information minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid and a few others.

Supreme Court disqualified Sharif as PML (N) leader in a judgment that referred to his earlier disqualification as prime minister by the apex court in July a year ago and ruled that Sharif can not hold the party office. "Shahbaz will continue as the party's full-time president after the general council elects him in a meeting in Islamabad next month", he said.

"I propose the name of Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif", Nawaz announced during a meeting in Lahore to huge applause.

According to the election commission rules, party's electoral college/ general council has to elect the party president within 40 days. Mr Sharif was removed from the post of PML-N president by the apex court on Feb 22.

But the party presented a united front with the election of Shahbaz, while Nawaz was appointed the party's guide "for life".

Nawaz Sharif referred to his disqualification and said that such decisions insulted the public mandate, which had become apparent in the form of millions of votes.

However, going by the leadership qualities of Mian Shahbaz Sharif and the unprecedented developmental activities as well as reforms carried out by him in the province are likely to make a big difference in the next election.

The petition stated that a disqualified politician could neither lead nor be a member.

"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.

In a meeting, the PML-N Central Working Committee (CWC) took these decisions.

Last week, the Supreme Court had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution can not serve as head of a political party.

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