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Pakistan's assembly chooses 45-day prime minister

03 August 2017

Pakistan's parliament will meet on Tuesday to elect a new prime minister after the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif following an investigation into corruption allegations against his family.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the candidate of ruling PML-N won the election for PM with 221 out of 342 members of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Abbasi, who has been a member of the National Assembly since 1988, will be replaced by Shehbaz Sharif, who is now the chief minister of Punjab province.

Following the move, the PML-N had agreed upon Abbasi, the former petroleum minister, as its candidate for prime minister for the interim period until a permanent replacement could be elected, Dawn News reported.

Shahid Haqqan Abbasi, who was voted to the PM office yesterday, will serve this top executive post in the Centre till Shehbaz Sharif's election to the National Assembly.

The seat was vacated after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as the prime minister by the Supreme Court last week.

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But the plan to eventually install Nawaz's brother Shahbaz has also sparked anger among supporters of opposition leader Imran Khan, who has criticised another bout of dynastic politics, a trend with a long history in Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia.

Abbasi was elected for the fourth time in 1997 and served as the Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines from 1997 to 1999 during Nawaz Sharif's second term.

"As a responsible party we have to take Pakistan ahead", he said. And I am also thankful to PML-N who nominated me for this post.

Ahead of his election, Abbasi vowed to walk in the footsteps of Sharif in implementing his policies and also pledged to form the cabinet after discussions. I will not go into details of Friday's (Supreme Court) decision - I only want to say that there will soon be another court - one held by the people.

Abbasi has been elected at least six times (1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2008 and 2013) as a member of the parliament and was defeated just once in 2002 when he lost to Pakistan People's Party candidate Ghulam Murtaza Satti.

A tough administrator with a reputation for passionate outbursts, he is known for using revolutionary poetry in speeches and public meetings and considered by some to be a workaholic.

Pakistan's assembly chooses 45-day prime minister