Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] resigned from office [LA Times report] on Friday after the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] issued a unanimous ruling [order, PDF], earlier the same day, disqualifying him from office.
Shahbaz Sharif, now the chief minister of Punjab province, which is Pakistan's most populous region and the Sharif's political heartland, will have to resign from that post and run for a by-election to join parliament before he is elected as prime minister.
Because Mr Sharif's party has a comfortable majority in Parliament, Mr Abbasi is expected to easily win the necessary parliamentary vote when it convenes next week.
Sharif has lashed out against the court's decision and his opponents who used the Supreme Court to topple him.
While Sharif now has to face down allegations that his family has illegally amassed huge wealth, some observers say that it is the Supreme Court who will ultimately be judged the most harshly.
Born into a Kashmiri family of industrialists in Lahore on Dec 25, 1949, Mr Sharif studied law at Punjab University and worked in the family business before going into politics in the Pakistan Muslim League under the patronage of military dictator Zia-ul Haq. The country has been ruled by military generals for more than half of its 70-year history and the military unwilling to see its influence challenged. The participants chanted the party's slogan: "Dekho dekho kaun aaya, sher aaya sher aaya.' (Look who has come, lion has come.) Lion is PML-N's election symbol".
Pakistan's ruling party reportedly intends to appoint the brother of just ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as his successor and its nominee to contest the 2018 general elections.
The court has also ordered a criminal investigation into Sharif, 67, and his family.
"However, (it is up to) Nawaz Sharif to decide whether Hamza will be the right choice for the post or not". This is the third time Sharif's tenure as the Prime Minister has been cut short. "If media reports are to be believed, the interim PM will be either Speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq or minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi", analyst Fasihur Rehman Khan told TOI.
Nawaz Sharif moved out of the prime minister's house and all of the members of his cabinet had their protocols removed.
The court's verdict was shocking for the PML-N as the court has not only disqualified its popular leader and also caused a huge embarrassment for the party.
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