ISLAMABAD: As Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reached Murree to meet ousted predecessor Mian Nawaz Sharif to discuss formation of new federal cabinet, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has declined an offer to continue as the Interior Minister, sources said.
The consultation meeting with Nawaz Sharif is underway to ponder nominees for ministerial portfolios.
According to sources, no drastic changes are expected in the new federal cabinet. However, it is to be seen who will replace the key portfolio of finance in the absence of all powerful former federal minister Ishaq Dar, who is also facing NAB reference after the Supreme Court declared Nawaz Sharif ineligible in a landmark judgment in Panama Papers Case last Friday.
The incumbent prime minister has offered Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to continue as the interior minister, but he refused to accept it, sources disclosed.
The informed sources further said that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will resign before NA-120 by-polls campaign for a National Assembly seat to elect as permanent Prime Minister.
The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leadership is also contemplating over nominating Shehbaz to contest from two other national seats along with Lahore’s NA-120 constituency, sources further said. However, Shehbaz is keen to contest the by-polls from NA-120 constituency (Lahore) which was vacated after Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification as the premier by the apex court last week.
Meanwhile, the party is also considering names of two military men in PML-N ranks Abdul Qayyum and Abdul Qadir Baloch as Interior Minister in the new cabinet, replacing party stalwart Chaudhry Nisar.
The new federal cabinet is expected to take oath in Islamabad today, state radio has said in a report.
President Mamnoon Hussain will administer the oath to the new federal ministers.
A five-judge Supreme Court bench disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister on July 28 in a unanimous verdict in the Panamagate case, thus cutting short his third stint in power.
Soon after the court judgement, the PM House in a terse statement said that Nawaz Sharif, despite having reservations on the court’s verdict, has stepped down from his post as the premier.
Sharif served as prime minister twice in the 1990s before he himself was ousted in a 1999 coup leading to a decade of exile. He won a third term as prime minister in a 2013 election.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the candidate of ruling PML-N won the election for PM with 221 out of 342 members of the National Assembly on Tuesday.