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Nawaz Sharif May Pick Wife Kulsoom Nawaz Over Brother Shehbaz Sharif as Pakistan PM

The odds are in favour of Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz as picking brother Shehbaz Sharif could bring more legal trouble, sources told CNN-News18.

Manoj Gupta | CNN-News18

Updated:July 29, 2017, 2:18 PM IST

New Delhi: Pakistan is likely to get a new prime minister on Saturday when Nawaz Sharif, disqualified from holding the post over the Panama Papers case, picks a successor.

Top sources in Sharif’s ruling PML-N party said his wife Kulsoom Nawaz and brother Shehbaz Sharif are the front-runners.

The odds are in favour of the former as picking Shehbaz, who is the chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, could bring in another legal trouble for Nawaz Sharif, sources said.

Sources said Nawaz is not keen on handing over power to any of his cabinet ministers. His close confidant and relative Ishaq Dar has also been disqualified by the supreme court.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan was plunged into yet another crisis on Friday when the country’s supreme court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from office over undeclared assets.

Sharif stepped down after the Supreme Court disqualified him for failing to declare "receivable" salary from a UAE-based company of his son in his 2013 nomination paper. The court termed the salary which was not paid to Sharif as an "asset".

The allegations against the prime minister spiralled from the Panama Papers leak last year, which sparked a media frenzy over the lavish lifestyles and luxury London property portfolio of the Sharif dynasty.

Three of Sharif's four children — including his daughter Maryam Nawaz, his presumptive political heir — were implicated in the papers.

Sources have told CNN-News that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has put Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar put on the exit control list, prohibiting them from leaving the country.

It is the third time that the 67-year-old veteran politician's term as premier has been cut short. The much-awaited verdict plunged Pakistan into a political crisis at a time when the country is facing a brittle economy and a surge in militancy.

The court disqualified Sharif under Article 62 and 63 of Pakistan's Constitution. The articles state that a member of Parliament should be "truthful" and "righteous".

The federal Cabinet also stands dissolved.

The Supreme Court also ordered the National Accountability Bureau to start a corruption case against Sharif and his children. It ordered that the cases against them be registered within six weeks and trial be completed within six months after the registration of the cases.

The court also ordered a criminal investigation into the assets of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Sharif's trusted aide, and Captain Muhammad Safdar, who is Sharif's son-in-law and a Member of National Assembly (MNA).

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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