In two separate meetings on Saturday, headed by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PML-N leaders decided to rally behind Nawaz's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, as his eventual successor.
Additionally, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was till Friday the petroleum minister, was tapped to take over as interim prime minister till the time Shahbaz is elected to parliament, and then to the prime minister's office.
Shahbaz's ascension to the prime minister's office is considered to be a foregone conclusion, as the 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 is a PML-N stronghold.
As part of the agreed-on course of action, Shahbaz will also have to forego his seat in the Punjab Assembly and his successor will also need to be chosen. Sources claim that Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman is likely to replace Shahbaz as the chief minister of Punjab.
The names were finalised in two separate meetings, one informal and the other involving the PML-N's parliamentary committee, which were attended by close aides of the outgoing prime minister, 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 Nawaz's disqualification and decided on who would take over the party's reins in parliament.
A formal announcement has yet to be made.
Copyright: Dawn/Asia News Network