Pakistani President calls National Assembly session for interim PM election

The case against Sharif dates back to the Panama Papers in 2016

The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Mr Sharif said that his younger brother, Shahbaz, who is now chief minister in Punjab province, would contest the election to the National Assembly in the seat which fell vacant with his removal.

Shahbaz Sharif, who has been a major player in Pakistani politics since the 1980s, likely will win election and the ruling party will install him as prime minister until the next general election in April.

If elected, the interim leader would be in power for at least 45 days until Shahbaz steps down as the head of the Punjab government, and contests a by-election to the national assembly.

Sharif was removed from office on Friday on grounds that he did not declare his role in a company based in the United Arab Emirates, from which he was paid a salary, in a 2013 wealth declaration made before running for parliament.

Imran Khan, the opposition leader and the main political opponent of Sharif, who led the move against the prime minister, hailed the ruling of the Supreme Court, considering it to be a "good omen" for Pakistan.

Pakistan's former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, congratulated the nation on the court's decision.


The removal of Sharif, who was serving his third term in office, comes roughly a year before his term was to end. 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.

Shehbaz is not a member of the National Assembly or Senate, and in order to be appointed as the Prime Minister of the country, he will have to get elected to the Senate.

Moreover, the PML-N has announced the former state minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as an interim PM.

"I will continue to fight for my vision of Pakistan", he said.

The PML-N can not afford to lose its grip on Punjab since the next general elections are barely a year away.

Sharif left the PM House with his wife Kulsum Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law Captain (Retd) Safdar and shifted to his private residence in the hill resort of Murree near Islamabad. Now, after almost two decades, the ousted prime minister has chosen him to step into his shoes, though for a short stint of 45 days. In 1993, he was ousted after a bitter struggle with the country's president, and in 1999 the military overthrew him in a bloodless coup.

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