Shehbaz Sharif, the longest-serving Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province is likely to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.
On Thursday, Pakistan Supreme Court cleared the deck by setting aside Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri's ruling which rejected the no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government. It directed to hold the sitting of the National Assembly "not later than 10:30 am on April 9" for the no-trust vote.
If Imran Khan is removed due to the no-confidence motion, a new leader of the House should be elected in the same session, the apex court said.
"...if the no-confidence motion against the prime minister succeeds, then the Assembly will appoint the new prime minister," the top court's order was quoted as saying by Geo News.
The opposition appeared to have the numbers for the no-confidence motion with some allies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) deciding to part ways. Several members of PTI had also turned rebels.
On the day of voting on the no-confidence resolution on April 3, the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected the no-confidence motion against the government on "constitutional grounds", after allegations of a "foreign conspiracy" to topple Imran Khan's government were made by minister Fawad Chaudhary in the House.
Shortly afterwards, Imran Khan had recommended President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly and call for fresh elections.
Moreover, Sharif who spearheaded the campaign against Imran Khan in 2021, is set to oust the PTI chief over the skyrocketing inflation, corruption and misgovernance.
He is the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and also the President of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), one of the key Opposition parties of Pakistan.
Shebaz Sharif is the brother of Nawaz Sharif, ousted Pakistan PM who has been living in London after being convicted in two corruption cases in Pakistan.
On March 30, Shehbaz’s name was proposed for Prime Ministership in a joint conference of the Opposition parties
Earlier, Shehbaz Sharif had tabled the no-confidence motion against Khan's government in the National Assembly.
Sharif is a seasoned politician and holds the record of being the longest-serving Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, having served on the post three times.
He became the Chief Minister of Punjab province for the first time in 1997. But, after a 1999 coup by General Pervez Musharraf, he had to leave Pakistan and spent the next eight years in exile in Saudi Arabia.
Notably, Shehbaz also faces corruption charges. In December 2019, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) froze 23 properties belonging to Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza, accusing them of money laundering.
He was also arrested by NAB in the case in September 2020. He was released on bail later in April 2021 by the Lahore High Court.