Empowering the new Prime Minister

Are there differences within the Sharif family?


With Nawaz Sharif stepping down as Prime Minister, his word is no more the law in the party. This explains the failure to announce the new cabinet two days after Shahid Khaqan Abbasi took oath. The matter has now been postponed till Friday. This indicates sharp divisions within the Sharif family. Abbasi for the time being is the interim Prime Minister for 45 days after which Shahbaz Sharif is supposed to get the job. The wisdom of the arrangement originally sanctioned by Nawaz Sharif has however been questioned by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah who wants Shahbaz to continue to remain Punjab Chief Minister. The issue will reportedly be reviewed by the party high command in the next few days. Uncertainties have increased in the PML-N.


Since his disqualification Nawaz Sharif has been running PML-N affairs from the government house in Murree. Both the Sharif brothers are leading the consultations and reportedly differ on who are to be the new ministers. According to media reports, Shahbaz Sharif is hesitant to let Ishaq Dar return as Finance Minister. He wants instead to give the crucial ministry to Punjab Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus-Pasha. There are also differences over who is to be the Defence Minister and the Interior Minister A final decision therefore could not be announced despite being scheduled for Thursday.


After being elected Prime Minister Abbasi promised that he would do 45 months’ worth of work in 45 days and was not there just to keep the seat warm. With Abbasi not being allowed to choose his cabinet, and his course of action to been constantly dictated by those outside the cabinet, it would be difficult for him to fulfil the promise. The undemocratic practice of retaining the decision making power with the Sharif family is a mockery of the office of the Prime Minister. Even if Abbasi is there temporarily he is the prime minister of the country and it is his cabinet.

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