Islamabad: The PML-N on Saturday decided to rally behind ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, as his eventual successor, while party leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was tapped to take over as interim Prime Minister till Shahbaz is elected to Parliament.
Shahbaz's ascension to the Prime Minister's office was considered to be a foregone conclusion, as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) continues to hold a hefty majority in Parliament and can independently vote him into office.
He will also likely seek election to the National Assembly from Nawaz Sharif's vacated seat, which was a PML-N stronghold, Dawn reported.
Shahbaz will have to forego his seat in the Punjab Assembly, and a new Chief Minister to the province will need to be chosen.
Sources claim that Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman was likely to replace Shahbaz as the Chief Minister.
The names of Shahbaz and Abbasi, the Petroleum Minister, were finalised in two separate meetings, one informal and the other involving the PML-N's parliamentary committee. The meetings were attended by close aides of Nawaz Sharif, including Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq, Saad Rafique, Rana Tanveer, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Shahbaz Sharif along with other members of the PML-N's leadership.
The meetings came as the PML-N deliberated its political and legal options after Sharif's disqualification and decided on who would take over the party's reins in Parliament.