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Monday Jul 31 2017

Will win PM vote with a majority: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi


ISLAMABAD: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) candidate for prime minister, vowed on Monday that the party will win tomorrow's premiership vote with a landslide. 

Talking to the media after submitting his nomination papers to the National Assembly Secretariat, Abbasi said the government's policy [before Nawaz Sharif's dismissal by the Supreme Court on Friday] on all matters will continue. 

When asked about the incoming federal cabinet, he said the cabinet will be chosen in consultation with the party.

Abbasi, the petroleum minister in the recently dissolved cabinet, was accompanied by several senior PML-N leaders while submitting his nomination papers.

Earlier on Monday, speaking to Geo News, Abbasi took aim at his political opponents and said no amount of petitions filed against him would bear any fruit.

“I’ve been a part of Parliament for 30 years and have given details of my assets 20 to 22 times. It has just become a tradition now to file all kinds of useless petitions,” he said.

“Anyone who has any doubts over my assets is welcome to file a petition. I will give answers myself, without any lawyer,” Abbasi remarked.

He added that his party’s leader [Nawaz Sharif] has always given lessons of politeness.

“It is up to the public if they want to trust the language of the [commercial politicians] or ours,” he said.

Opposition leaders yet to unite behind a candidate

The opposition parties on Monday failed to rally behind Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Sheikh Rasheed as their joint candidate against Abbasi. 

As a result, the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan submitted papers for their own nominees for prime minister.

New PM to be elected tomorrow 

Candidates intending to become the next prime minister had to submit their nomination papers to the National Assembly Secretariat by 2pm today, following which the assembly speaker began scrutinising the documents.

During the scrutiny, which takes place in the presence of the nominees, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq dismissed Rasheed's objections to Abbasi's nomination. 

Later, the nomination papers of all the candidates for prime minister were approved by the speaker. 

A session of the National Assembly has been called on Tuesday, August 1, at 3pm to elect the prime minister following the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court on Friday. 

The parliamentary party meeting of the ruling PML-N decided on Saturday to make Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif — the brother of the ousted premier — to be the party’s candidate for the slot. However, at the meeting, Nawaz announced that former petroleum minister, Abbasi, will be the premier until Shehbaz is elected to a National Assembly seat and subsequently made the prime minister.

"If you support anyone after me, I ask you to support Shehbaz Sharif," said Nawaz during the meeting, held at the Punjab House a day after Nawaz's ouster by the apex court.

"It will take Shehbaz Sharif 50-55 days to take over as prime minister. He will have to contest [national] elections. For the interim period, I am recommending Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the position of prime minister."

Then prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from holding public office by the Supreme Court on Friday.

Sharif was disqualified under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution over his failure to disclose un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from a UAE-based company. It implied he was not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’, as per the country’s Constitution.