Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif resigns as PML-N president; elder brother Nawaz Sharif will take over the post

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday resigned as president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), paving the way for his elder brother and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take over the helm of the ruling party again. amid internal conflicts.

In his resignation letter to the PML-N Secretary General, Shehbaz cited the tumultuous events of 2017, which resulted in Nawaz’s “unjust” disqualification from the Prime Minister’s Office and the party’s presidency. responsibility to assume the presidency of the party.

Shehbaz said his brother had entrusted him with the responsibility of assuming the party chairmanship despite adversity, adding that it was a duty he had “fulfilled with utmost dedication and sincerity”.

“I am aware, however, that this role has always been seen as a trust bestowed upon me by our respected leader,” the 72-year-old said. Nawaz, 74, returned to Pakistan in October last year, ending nearly four years of self-imposed exile in London.

“I am encouraged by the recent developments that have acquitted our leader with dignity and reaffirmed his impeccable integrity and commitment to service to our nation,” he said, referring to the Islamabad High Court’s November 29 verdict acquitting Nawaz in the reference to Avenfield. The following month, on December 12, the PML-N supremo was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the Al-Azizia reference.

“In light of these developments and the steadfast leadership of our beloved leader, I believe the time has come for Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to resume his rightful place as President of the PML-N,” Shehbaz said.

“It is with a deep sense of duty and respect for the principles of our party that I resign as president,” he said.

In 2017, the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz as prime minister and party chairman over his alleged corruption in cases related to the Panama Papers revelations about his illicit wealth stashed abroad.

He relinquished his position within the party after his disqualification, which also led to his departure from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Nawaz was all set to become prime minister for the fourth time, but his party failed to win a clear majority in the National Assembly on its own in the February 8 general elections.

In a surprise move, he let his younger brother and incumbent party president Shehbaz – considered the favorite of the military establishment – ​​lead a six-party coalition government at the Centre.

Shehbaz’s resignation comes amid internal tensions within the ruling party in Punjab and at the federal level.

Several prominent figures within the party, including Rana Sanaullah, Javed Latif, Senator Javed Abbasi and former Senator Asif Saeed Kirmani, have publicly criticized the leadership.

PML-N’s Punjab unit has already unanimously passed the resolution to appoint Nawaz as party president.

Published May 13, 2024, 2:25 PM IST