The embattled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Monday unanimously nominated Shehbaz Sharif as its prime ministerial candidate, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said. The nomination of the 66-year-old former Punjab chief minister was approved soon after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party named its top leader Imran Khan to be the prime ministerial candidate of the single largest party in the National Assembly.
The PTI has claimed that it has the support of 174 members, including independents, in the National Assembly after the July 25 general elections and can form the next federal government. Shehbaz is the younger brother of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail last month in a corruption case.
Shehbaz’s nomination was approved at a meeting of senior party leaders at its Central Secretariat here to decide its nominee for the next prime minister, PML-N spokesperson Aurangzeb was quoted as saying by Geo News.
During the meeting chaired by PML-N president Shehbaz, leaders deliberated upon strategy to form government in the centre and Punjab, she said. Speaking to media after the meeting, Aurangzeb said the PML-N would continue to struggle together with other political parties, adding that they had directed concerned individuals to prepare ‘white papers’ on the polls in the country.
The PML-N has alleged that last month’s polls were rigged in favour of the Khan’s PTI. The PML-N spokesperson said that a protest would be staged in Islamabad on August 8 and ticket-holders from all political parties would participate in it.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for PML-N Punjab chapter Malik Mohammad Ahmed said his party would play the role of a strong opposition in Punjab’s provincial legislature. He said that only Hamza Shehbaz, son of Shehbaz could be the Opposition leader or the chief minister of the key province. Earlier this month, party leader Rana Sanaullah said PML-N needs only 18 MPA-elects to form the government in Punjab — the province that PML-N has ruled for 10 consecutive years.
“We have won 130 seats and need an additional 18 MPA-elects. With the Pakistan Peoples Party’s six elected MPAs and 13 independents we will have the numbers to form the government,” Sanaullah had claimed. PML-N’s rival political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), also claims having enough members to form government in Punjab.
PTI leader Jahangir Tareen has claimed that the party has the support of 18 independents. The party also claims that with these independents, its own MPA-elects and seven from the PML-Q, its strength in the 371-member Punjab Assembly stands at 148 members.