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Pakistani media said Saturday that Shahbaz Sharif (above photo), chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, had been chosen as candidate to succeed ousted PM Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif's PML-N party is due to meet on Saturday and will likely appoint a short-term leader to fill the vacuum until Sharif's younger brother becomes an elected lawmaker, according to the English-language News and Dawn newspapers.

Following the verdict, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson announced Nawaz Sharif had stepped down as the prime minister by acceding to the court orders despite having reservations, leaving the National Assembly seat vacant.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said on Sunday that Nawaz Sharif's services for the country are unforgettable.

He has also represented Pakistan at several global forums including the United Nations, where his views and speaking prowess were appreciated.

Nawaz Sharif, who was in the past year of his third term, has been ousted twice before, the last time after trying to remove army chief Pervez Musharraf.

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"Not a single penny (of) corruption has been proved in this decision against Nawaz Sharif and the people of Pakistan also know it", information minister Maryam Aurangzeb told reporters after the decision. Now, after almost two decades, the ousted prime minister has chosen him to step into his shoes, though for a short stint of 45 days.

It was made a decision to appoint Abbasi as interim prime minister to run the government until Shehbaz is elected as a member of parliament, they said.

"I see the state of freeze between India and China continuing until the foreseeable future and we might even expect surge in cross-border terror activities", said Mr Mansingh, who was also India's envoy to Washington. "When I never took a salary, what would I declare", he said, referring to the apex court's ruling.

They said Nawaz Sharif was a popular leader of the country and had the ability and vision to keep the nation united and make Pakistan a developed country among the comity of nations.

An informal meeting chaired by Sharif on Saturday chose to rally behind Shehbaz after discussions that spanned four hours, the media reported. In 1999, military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf overthrew Sharif in a bloodless coup and exiled him to Saudi Arabia.

No civilian prime minister in Pakistan has ever completed a full term in office. Shehbaz will steer the country until the next General Election scheduled for 2018. The court ordered the Election Commission to issue a notification for Sharif's disqualification.


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