Shehbaz Sharif-Shah Mahmood looking for PM slot

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday filed their nomination papers, as the National Assembly convenes today (on Monday) to elect prime minister after the PTI seems divided over its erstwhile decision of en masse resignations by its lawmakers.

While the cabinet division de-notified 52 members of the federal cabinet 25 federal ministers, four ministers of state, four advisers to the PM and 19 special assistants to the PM after the historic vote of no-confidence by the joint opposition against ex-premier Imran Khan, Mr Sharif having bright chances to make it to the top slot said the new cabinet would be formed only after consultation with all allies.

As the PTI core committee remained indecisive in a meeting chaired by Mr Khan on Sunday whether to go for en masse resignations of MNAs or not, the party chairman called the parliamentary party meeting at the Parliament House at 12 noon on Monday to make a final decision. Whether Mr Qureshi will contest the election for the premiership or will resign along with other MNAs of the PTI and its allies depends on the outcome of the PTI parliamentary meeting.

However, the PTI decided to give a tough time to the upcoming government through street protests if the PML-N won the contest in the parliament for which voting would begin at 2pm.

On the other hand, Mr Sharif met the leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and discussed the political situation. While all the parties kept their cards close to chest about the composition of the new cabinet, sources said PPP leader Naveed Qamar was the strongest candidate for the slot of National Assembly speaker, PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb and Rana Sanaullah could get the portfolios of information and interior ministries, respectively.

Earlier in the day, the PML-N and PTI came face to face once again when Mr Sharif and Mr Qureshi reached the Parliament House in separate groups comprising senior leaders of the two parties and submitted their nomination papers to the National Assembly secretary.

On the occasion, Mr Qureshi and Babar Awan became involved in an altercation with PML-N leaders Zahid Hamid and Atta Tarar.

The senior PTI leaders submitted objections against Mr Sharif stating that the latter was contesting election on the day of his expected indictment in a money laundering case. They were of the opinion that he did not deserve to be the new PM due to his “involvement” in corruption cases.

Responding to these allegations, Mr Tarar said since Mr Sharif had not been convicted in any case, his nomination could not be rejected merely on the basis of allegations. Mr Hamid reminded the PTI leaders that nomination could be rejected only on the grounds mentioned in the Constitution and Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly-2007 under which the candidate for the office of PM must be a Muslim, an MNA and signature of the candidate and his proposer and seconder must be genuine.

On this, the NA secretary accepted the nomination paper of both Mr Sharif and Mr Qureshi.

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