Putting an end to confusion surrounding the future leadership of the embattled PML-N, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif told party aides on Wednesday that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would be the party's candidate for premiership in the upcoming General Election.
Expressing confidence in his younger brother, Nawaz said that Shahbaz had never disappointed him or the party, and had risen to prominence because of his hard work and performance.
The former prime minister made the remarks during a meeting at his Jati Umra residence yesterday.
He said that although Shahbaz may have had a difference in opinion over certain matters, he never violated party discipline and never refused to accept what Nawaz told him.
Nawaz added that at times he accepted Shahbaz's suggestions as well. "I had to take Pervez Musharraf's call condoling our father's death upon Shahbaz's insistence," he said.
Sources claimed that Nawaz also said that when favouritism affects the parameters of justice, society loses its stability. "Despite there being so much [in the case] against Imran Khan, he was left scot-free while I was sent home on just an Iqama," he was reported as saying.
"We will not stay quiet. I will inform the nation of the inconsistencies between the two decisions," he said, referring to Supreme Court's decision disqualifying him and the one in the Imran Khan disqualification case.
Shedding light on his planned movement for justice, he said that the party's campaign for the 2018 General Election and the movement would go hand in hand.
"Someone will have to stand up to correct the ills of 70 years," he said, adding that he was standing upright in the battle.
PML-N members appreciated the decision taken by the party chief on Thursday.
"It would be wrong to say that a single vote in the party is against Shahbaz Sharif," MNA Rana Afzal said regarding the development.
Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali said that the party would accept the decision taken by Nawaz, adding that Shahbaz is a very capable individual that the country needs right now.
Although MNA Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh praised the decision, he added that the process of consultation within the party needs to be broadened.
Shahbaz had earlier been tipped to replace Nawaz as the prime minister after his disqualification at the hands of Supreme Court late July. However, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was later made the prime minister as Shahbaz claimed he wanted to focus on completion of various projects in Punjab.
Last month, a party meeting in London also decided to put Shahbaz forward as a prime ministerial candidate after the 2018 election if party president Nawaz Sharif remained ineligible to run for office.
Only people have the right to choose the next prime minister
"Only the 200 million people of Pakistan have the right to choose who their next prime minister will be," Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah said while commenting on the development.
"Neither Nawaz Sharif nor anybody else has the right to choose the next prime minister."
Shah added that when people ask him why the parliament is always empty, he tells them that it remains empty because Nawaz never gave it due importance. "This why he has to keep asking mujhay kyun nikala (why was I removed?)."