Parliament to elect prime minister after Sharif debacle

Jerome Frank
August 3, 2017

Pakistan's parliament will meet on Tuesday to elect a new prime minister after the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif following an investigation into corruption allegations against his family.

Abbasi, who has been a member of the National Assembly since 1988, will be replaced by Shehbaz Sharif, who is now the chief minister of Punjab province.

The announcement was made as lawmakers chanted slogans in favor of Abbasi, a lawmaker from the ruling Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

The PML-N has a majority with 188 seats in the 342-member Parliament and is expected to get additional votes from its allies to take the total to 214.

Friday's landmark ruling followed months of hearings sparked by the leak of the Panama Papers, which showed that three of Sharif's children were connected to three offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. He was sworn in at the presidency later Tuesday by President Mamnoon Hussain.

He briefly held the positions of Minister for Commerce and Ministry of Defence Production in former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's government in 2008 after the election but later resigned as his PML-N party parted ways with the PPP.

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Despite his election minutes before, the new premier used his maiden speech in parliament to declare Nawaz Sharif "the prime minister of the people of Pakistan".

Our fears that now the Army will have a greater say in Pakistan as Nawaz Sharif's brother Shehbaz Sharif is not as powerful a politician as Nawaz was, are not ill-founded. His closest rival Syed Naveed Qamar from the opposition Pakistan People's Party secured 47 votes, according to Ayaz Sadiq, the National Assembly Speaker.

Abbasi was speaking to media following his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the capital.

"He said that these projects should be completed at a higher speed than before so that we can show the world that a prime minister in a country can change, but policies remain", Abbasi said of Sharif.

Khan described the disqualification of Sharif as the turning point of law and said, "We actually are moving towards a general democracy", Reuters reported.

The new cabinet, which is expected to take oath today at 5:30pm in the President House Islamabad, will comprise members who have served in Nawaz Sharif's cabinet.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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