In a speech to his party, Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has nominated his brother Shahbaz as successor. He also said he would like close ally Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to be interim prime minister. “I have quit my office, so someone has to take it, and after a lot of consultations… Shahbaz Sharif is nominated,” news agency Reuters quoted Sharif as saying. He criticised the Supreme Court’s decision of declaring him unfit to hold office following the report filed by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the Panama Papers scandal.
In order to become the prime minister, Shahbaz Sharif needs to be emerge victorious in a general election in Pakistan, which goes to polls next year. He is currently the chief minister of the vast Punjab province. Abbasi, the petroleum minister in the last cabinet, is regarded as committed to Sharif.
The Sharifs are regarded as the most powerful political family in the country. Apart from Sharif, his daughter Maryam and sons Hussain and Hassan were also named in the Panama Papers. His son-in-law, Mohammad Safdar, was interrogated as well. The apex court, following the JIT report, ordered separate cases to be filed against each of the accused.
Former President Pervez Musharraf, in a video message on Twitter on Friday, hailed the court’s decision and pressed for imposing a travel ban on the accused. Musharraf himself resides in Dubai at the moment after he exited the country citing health reasons in March 2016, despite pending court cases.
(With inputs from Reuters)