Former railways minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique tweeted on Saturday that there was consensus in the party on Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif’s appointment as the next premier.
In his tweet, Rafique wrote that Shehbaz had served as the PML-N president and also performed remarkably well as the Punjab chief minister.
He also tweeted that anti-democracy forces considered former prime minister Nawaz Sharif dangerous, but now that he had stepped down, he would be more “formidable and dangerous”.
Those who are celebrating the disqualification of the prime minister, he added, would soon find out how wrong they were.
Shehbaz is expected to run for NA-120, Lahore – the seat Nawaz has been disqualified from, sources said. Only after winning a National Assembly seat would Shehbaz be able to be appointed the next premier. For now, former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s name has been finalised to be appointed as the next ‘interim’ prime minister.
In a landmark verdict, the apex court’s five-judge larger bench on Friday unanimously disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif due to his failure to disclose his ‘un-withdrawn receivables, constituting assets’ in his nomination papers filed ahead of the 2013 general elections.
The verdict – announced in the packed courtroom 1 of the Supreme Court – came as a major blow to the ruling family as the court also asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file three different references against PM and his three children – Maryam, Hussain and Hassan – as well as Captain (retd) Safdar.
The court ordered NAB to file the references within six weeks before the accountability court of Rawalpindi-Islamabad on the basis of the material collected and referred to by the Joint Investigating Team (JIT) that probed into Sharif’s offshore assets as revealed in April last year by Panama Papers.
Interestingly, disqualification of the premier was not made on the basis of the corruption charges levelled by the PTI after the emergence of Panama Papers.
The SC disqualified the PM by relying on documents collected by the JIT during its probe through Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) request. The documents showed that the PM had been an employee of a Dubai-based firm, Capital FZE, and as chairman of its board on a salary.
Nawaz Sharif resigned from his post, his office said, hours after the Supreme Court disqualified him.
The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that Sharif has “stepped down” despite having “serious reservations” about the judicial process. The federal cabinet also stands dissolved.
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