Pakistan’s parliament elects Abbasi interim prime minister

Aug. 1 (UPI) — Pakistan’s parliament on Tuesday elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as interim prime minister after his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, was removed amid nagging corruption allegations.

The 342-member National Assembly elected Abbasi, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, in Islamabad with 221 votes, the BBC reported.

“Within four days, we have seen the return of the country onto the tracks of democracy. Nothing was derailed,” he said in the parliament, Al Jazeera reported. “Whether I am here for 45 hours or 45 days, I am the prime minister of this country, and I have come here to get work done, not to keep the seat warm.”

Abbasi, 58, will hold the post until Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz takes over, pending an election to the National Assembly.

Shehbaz, who has the Pakistan Muslim League’s support, is currently the chief minister of Punjab province. Abbasi previously served as the elder Sharif’s petroleum minister.

On Friday, the country’s Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz, a three-time prime minister, from holding public office. It was the latest development in a 15-month corruption investigation into claims that he failed to detail in a financial disclosure statement that his family owned offshore companies and assets.

Nawaz resigned Friday but has denied wrongdoing.

The Pakistani government’s watchdog arm also announced Monday its intent to open cases against Nawaz, 67, members of his family and his finance minister Ishaq Dar. The National Accountability Bureau said it would look into companies and luxury London apartments owned by the Sharif family.


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