President Mamnoon Hussain has called a session of the National Assembly on Aug 1 for the election of an interim prime minister, DawnNews reported.

The president's decision follows a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the Panama Papers case in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as PM after being deemed unfit to hold office as he had been dishonest to the Parliament and the courts in not disclosing his employment in the Dubai-based Capital FZE company in his 2013 nomination papers.

The ouster brought Sharif's third term in power to an unceremonious end, roughly one year before the scheduled general election which would have seen him become the first prime minister to complete a full five-year term.

Sources in the presidency told DawnNews that the session is expected to convene around 3pm on Tuesday, with a one-point agenda consisting of the election of a short-term successor to Sharif.

The PML-N has agreed upon Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former petroleum minister, as its candidate for interim prime minister. The election of the PML-N's fielded candidates to the post is considered to be a foregone conclusion, as the party currently holds a hefty majority in parliament and can independently vote them into office.

Nawaz's brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, has been nominated as the party's candidate for prime minister.

Abbasi is expected to take over as interim prime minister until Shahbaz is elected to parliament, and then to the prime minister's office.

Shahbaz will likely seek election to the National Assembly from Nawaz Sharif's constituency, which is a PML-N stronghold. As part of the agreed-on course of action, he will also have to forego his seat in the Punjab Assembly and his successor will need to be chosen.

Sources claim that Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman is likely to replace Shahbaz as the chief minister Punjab.

The opposition, however, are hoping to decide on a candidate unanimously accepted by all opposition parties for the post of PM.

Opposition party members, while speaking to DawnNews, said a meeting comprising opposition parties' parliamentary heads would take place on Sunday for the purpose of deciding upon such a candidate.

The schedule for the polling process is as follows:

  • July 30: Nomination papers for the election will be available at the NA secretary's office until 3pm.

  • July 31: Nomination papers may be submitted by 2pm. At about 3pm, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq will check the papers.

  • Aug 1: Election for interim PM will be held in the NA.

With additional reporting by Fahad Chaudhry.



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