Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has shattered the dreams of his younger brother Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif of becoming prime minister and of his nephew (Hamza) to take up the reins in Punjab.
A federal minister said that the decision to 'retain' Shehbaz in Punjab had been finalised and just a mere "official" announcement is left from the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) about withdrawing Shehbaz from the National Assembly NA-120 race.
"The extended cabinet of Abbasi is a proof of it," he said, adding the current arrangement suited the leadership as Nawaz Sharif would see matters in the Centre and Shehbaz Sharif in Punjab.
A number of PML-N leaders in Punjab believe that Shehbaz has missed or made to miss a "golden opportunity" to succeed his elder brother as there is no guarantee he will make it to Islamabad to don the premier's cap in 2018 in case the PML-N wins the election as more players from the elder Sharif family may be in the race for the top slot, the Dawn reports.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said: "The decision that Shehbaz Sharif will continue serving in Punjab is almost certain."
Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan said that the parliamentary party headed by Nawaz Sharif was authorised to announce reversal of its earlier decision (to nominate Shahbaz for prime minister's slot).Khan however denied any differences in the Sharif brothers saying the crisis had even further united them and Shahbaz would follow his elder brother's instructions.
After Shehbaz was announced Nawaz Sharif's successor, the leaders in PML-N argued that Punjab cannot be left out as that would be disastrous for the party. Shehbaz convinced Nawaz in the begining that his son Hamza can take his place in Punjab.
Shehbaz had tried his best to convince Nawaz not to worry about Punjab and leave it to his son (Hamza). To consolidate his case, Shahbaz managed to send a request to him (Nawaz) from more than 300 PML-N MPAs from Punjab, endorsing father in the centre and son in Punjab.
Khurram Dastgir said, "Since Shahbaz has good equation with all MPAs in Punjab and all ongoing development projects are on his finger tips, a larger section of the party is of the view that he should continue delivering in Punjab."
Nawaz had announced after his disqualification by the Supreme Court that his younger brother would be prime minister after an interim arrangement of 45 days for which Abbasi was selected.