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Analysis: Shahbaz Sharif, a cautious political player, in focus to replace PM

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is getting a lot of attention within the ruling party following the submission of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s damning report about the businesses of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Shahbaz, who apparently have survived indictment in the investigation report and remained absent in the diatribe launched against the family by the opponents. He is now being deemed an all-important player of the Sharif family in case the premier and his children get an unfavourable court decision in the Panamagate case.

Keeping the possibility of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification in view, there has been a lot of talk in the party ranks that Shahbaz may replace brother Nawaz, party sources said.

However, there is still uncertainty over party leadership trusting Shahbaz blindly and allowing him to play a role in the centre. The party is still contemplating over selection of a person for remainder period till 2018 general election in case the premier gets disqualified.

Interestingly, contrary to many other Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) senior leaders who risked contempt of court by making incendiary speeches against the judiciary and the investigating team, Shahbaz Sharif has treaded a cautious path defending his elder brother.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was accompanied by Shahbaz and his son Hamza to the Judicial Academy in Islamabad when he turned up for a quizzing session with the JIT. However, neither the chief minister nor his son were seen standing with the premier’s children – Maryam, Hussain, and Hassan – at the time of their appearance before the probing team.

Analysts are of the opinion that Shahbaz and his son Hamza might not be in the front line this time in defence of the premier and his children in the Panamagate case.



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