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Pakistani parliament to elect new prime minister on Tuesday

31 July 2017

The court also directed the country's anti-corruption authorities to file separate corruption cases against the former prime minister, the finance minister, his two sons, daughter, and son-in-law for their involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.

On Saturday, the deposed Prime Minister formally announced that Shahbaz Nawaz would be his successor and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will be Premier for 45 days till Shahbaz Nawaz contests a by-election to enter the National Assembly.

Shahbaz Sharif, 65, was serving as the chief minister of Punjab province, that is home to more than half of Pakistan's 190 million people, for the third time.

"We wanted to make sure there is a smooth transfer of power, and no constitutional crisis", said Miftah Ismail, a senior PML-N official and Sharif ally.

The final nomination will be recognised in the party's parliamentary meeting.

The ruling party is moving fast to quell the political turmoil following Nawaz Sharif's ousting, the second world leader to be felled by last year's so-called Panama Papers leak.

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"I will continue to fight for my vision of Pakistan", he said. The Bhutto-Zardari clan, the other political family in the country, battled allegations of massive graft which included the nickname of the "10 per cent man" for Asif Ali Zardari, husband of prime minister and slain Benazir Bhutto.

Abbasi, a close confidant of Nawaz Sharif, was elected as a National Assembly member in the 2013 general elections from famous tourist destination Murree, near capital Islamabad.

The case, brought by a member of Sharif's PML-N party, seeks to have Khan disqualified on the same contentious clause in the constitution that ousted Sharif - the requirement that Pakistani politicians be honest. The court termed the salary which was not paid to Sharif as an "asset". His party's leaders have noted, however, that their party still enjoys a majority and will stay in power until general elections are held in June 2018.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan earlier advised Mr Sharif to accept Friday's verdict. He was forced to step down during his first term as Prime Minister after a family-owned business, Ittefaq Industries, grew tremendously while he was in office.

It is notable that not a single Prime Minister in Pakistan has been allowed to complete his or her tenure since the country's inception 70 years ago.

Sharif was later sentenced to an additional 14 years in prison on corruption charges, but he was released after six months when Saudi Arabia brokered a deal to allow him to go into exile there.

Pakistani parliament to elect new prime minister on Tuesday