Pakistan lawmakers to elect new prime minister

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The ruling party want Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to serve until Nawaz Sharif’s brother can take over

Lawmakers in Pakistan are to elect a new prime minister to replace Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted last week over corruption allegations.

The ruling party has nominated former oil minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to serve as interim leader.

They want him to take on a caretaker role until Mr Sharif’s brother, Shahbaz Sharif, can take over.

He is chief minister of Punjab province and must win a parliamentary by-election to be eligible for PM.

Opposition groups have also nominated candidates but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) holds a majority in the National Assembly and Mr Abbasi is expected to win the vote.

PML-N lawmaker Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told Reuters news agency the prime objective was “to give Pakistan stability”.

“As a responsible party we have to take Pakistan ahead,” he said.

Shahbaz Sharif is to contest the parliamentary seat left vacant by his ousted brother but that process is expected to take at least 45 days.

Mr Abbasi is a long-time ally of Nawaz Sharif. He was jailed for two years in 1999 after the military toppled Mr Sharif, ending the second of his three spells as prime minister.

Mr Sharif’s third spell came to an end on Friday when he stepped down following a decision by the Supreme Court to disqualify him from office.

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Shahbaz Sharif must be elected to parliament before he can take over

The ruling came after an investigation into his family’s wealth following the leak of the Panama Papers in 2015, which linked Mr Sharif’s children to offshore companies and assets not shown on his family’s wealth statement.

The court said Mr Sharif had been dishonest in not disclosing his earnings from a Dubai -based company in his nomination papers during the 2013 general election.

It recommended anti-corruption cases against several individuals, including Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband Safdar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others.

Allegations of corruption have dogged Mr Sharif since the 1980s, but he denies any wrongdoing.

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