With Nawaz Sharif disqualified from holding the office of Prime Minister, Pakistan’s National Assembly elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as its new premier ahead of the country’s Independence Day celebrations on August 14. PML-N had nominated Abbasi as its candidate to succeed Nawaz Sharif, who will vacate the position for Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif after the Punjab Chief Minister is elected to the National Assembly. Abbasi was serving as Pakistan’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources before the Pakistan Supreme Court disqualified Sharif on July 28.
Born on December 27, 1958 in Karachi, Abbasi received his early education from Karachi and later joined the Lawrence College in Murree of Rawalpindi. He did his degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. He worked in the US for a few years before moving to Saudi Arabia to join oil and gas industry.
He first entered politics after the death of his father Khaqan Abbasi, who was the Minister of Production. He fought as an Independent candidate and won from Rawalpindi in 1988, according to Dawn newspaper. In 1990 he was reelected to the National Assembly and was made Parliamentary Secretary for Defence. In his third term, he contested from PML-N, and was made the chairman of Standing Committee of National Assembly on Defence.
Abbasi held important positions in the second term of Nawaz Sharif where he was Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines from 1997 to 1999 before Sharif was ousted from power by General Pervez Musharraf. He was also Minister of Commerce under Yousuf Raza Gillani from March 31, 2008 to May 13, 2008.
Abbasi, who has three children, comes from a military family. His father Khaqan Abbasi was an Air Commodore in Pakistan Air Force before venturing into politics. Abbasi has enjoyed good relations with the military, his father-in-law General Muhammad Riaz Abbasi was the Director General of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) between 1977 to 1979. Abbasi’s sister Sadia Abbasi has also been a member in Senate of Pakistan.