Pakistan's ruling party the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) appointed Shahbaz Sharif as its interim chief on Tuesday to fill the post left vacant after the top court disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to lead the party last week.
He is likely to be made the party president once again after the Supreme Court ruled that a person disqualified under Article 62 and 63 can not serve as the head of a political party. The decision was taken in a meeting called to choose an interim party President following the Supreme Court judgment that removed Nawaz Sharif as the party chief.
"I propose the name of Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif", Nawaz announced during a meeting in Lahore to huge applause.
PML-N sources said senior Vice-President of the party Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir was likely to be given the responsibility once again. His appointment ended speculations since Nawaz's disqualification that there was rift within the Sharif family and he was going to make his daughter Maryum or ailing wife Kulsoom PML-N's head. PML (N) is still expected to emerge as the biggest party in Senate.
Nawaz Sharif had already put his weight behind his younger brother for performing well in Punjab and keeping the party united by dint of his "exceptional qualities". Afterwards, the party's general council is required to elect the president within 45 days.
Nawaz Sharif referred to his disqualification and said that such decisions insulted the public mandate, which had become apparent in the form of millions of votes.
Sharif resigned in July after the country's top court ousted him from office for concealing financial assets. For rendering such a role, a party head must necessarily possess the qualifications and be free of the disqualifications contemplated in Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
On Feb 21, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar gave this verdict on a number of petitions challenging the controversial amendment to the Election Act 20117, which allowed Sharif to head his party.