PM discusses in-house change in case of disqualification

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With the possibility of disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif under Article 62/63 of the Constitution, consultations have been started in the Prime Minister’s House to agree on a unanimous candidate to take over as a new prime minister.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be the first member of the parliament in the country’s history to be disqualified if ruled by the apex court that he is found not righteous and sagacious under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb chose not to comment over the matter despite repeated calls and text messages sent on her cell number. A reliable source in the ruling party told Pakistan Today that the names of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khawaja Asif are among those probable the ruling family is discussing for the time being. Asked who is leading the race, the source said that Nawaz Sharif was keeping all his cards with his chest.

The source said that soon after the hearing of the Supreme Court, the party’s senior leadership gathered at the Prime Minister’s House where the legal team of the ruling family briefed them on the situation emerging out of the court proceedings.

“The ruling party has started to chalk out a contingency plan in case the court rules to disqualify the prime minister. The prime minister has been informed by his legal aides that the JIT report and subsequent court hearings are averse to the expectations of the prime minister,” the source said and added that all options are on the table now. The source added that the prime minister held a meeting on Thursday with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, dropping a hint that he may be a possible replacement.

“The prime minister some days back held a long meeting with Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and tasked him to contact with various political parties and try to win their trust. Those parties included coalition members and also some from the opposition benches,” the source said.

Sadiq, who cut his private visit to London halfway after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summoned him in emergency to discuss Panama case, dashed back to Islamabad on June 14. Sadiq was to also visit Belarus after his London trip, but he postponed the visit after being summoned back.

The source said that Ayaz Sadiq has very good ties with leaders of the opposition parties – Syed Khurshid Shah of the PPP and Shah Mahmood Qureshi of PTI. The source added that Ayaz Sadiq, being elected also from Lahore, is very close to the prime minister.

“But of late, Ahsan Iqbal has become active too. He has recently won trust of Maryam Nawaz Sharif which may help him become a possible replacement as leader of the National Assembly. The prime minister could count on Ahsan too who believes as the minister is jack of all trades and believes he can handle all subjects – from science to infrastructure development,” the source added.

The source added that the recent trip of the prime minister to Sialkot where he showered praises on Khawaja Asif also hinted that he may be a possible replacement. Khawaja has backing of Kashmiri group among the ruling party.

“However, Khawaja is disliked by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. This could prove to be weakness or strength of Khawaja Asif – no one knows about,” the source concluded.

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