A major corruption scandal, even by the standards of corruption-ridden Pakistan, has claimed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after a unanimous verdict at the Pakistani Supreme Court removed him from office effective immediately, forcing a scramble in his party, the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), to find a replacement.
It didn’t take long, as by evening it was being reported in Pakistani media outlets that the PML-N had settled on his younger brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, to fill the role in interim prime minister. An election is scheduled for June of next year.
The ouster of Nawaz was politically controversial, with opposition figures celebrating publicly in the capital city of Islamabad, handing out candy in the streets. In Punjab Province, however, where the Sharif family is quite popular, protesters were criticizing the court’s move.
Still, the corruption scandal which ultimately brought him down had been mounting for months, and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before he was either sacked by the courts or forced to resign in disgrace.
The younger Shahbaz Sharif has mostly avoided links to the scandal, outside of his familial ties. As an influential PML-N figure and his brother’s main ally, he is a fairly safe choice for interim prime minister, though he’s been said to be not particularly charismatic as a politician, raising doubts about whether he’ll be the candidate going into next June’s vote or just a placeholder for someone else.