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Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif quits as PML-N President elder brother Nawaz Sharif set to assume post

 Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif quits as PML-N President elder brother Nawaz Sharif set to assume post

Islamabad, May 13 (PTI) Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday resigned as the President of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), paving the way for his elder brother and former premier Nawaz Sharif to retake the helm of the ruling party amid internal strife.

In his resignation letter addressed to the PML-N secretary general, Shehbaz cited the tumultuous events of 2017, which resulted in the "unjust" disqualification of Nawaz from the Prime Minister's Office and the presidency of the party, and said he was entrusted with the responsibility of assuming the presidency of the party.

Shehbaz said that his brother had entrusted him with the responsibility of assuming the party presidency in the face of adversity and added that it was a duty he had “upheld with utmost dedication and sincerity”.

"However, I am cognisant that this role has always been viewed as a trust … bestowed upon me by our revered leader,” the 72-year-old said. Nawaz, 74, returned to Pakistan in October last year, ending nearly four years of self-imposed exile in London.

"I am heartened by recent developments that have exonerated our leader with dignity, affirming his unblemished integrity and commitment to the service of our nation," he said, referring to the Islamabad High Court ruling on November 29 that acquitted Nawaz in the Avenfield reference. The next month, on December 12, the PML-N supremo was acquitted in the Al-Azizia reference by the high court.

"In light of these developments and the steadfast guidance of our beloved leader, I believe the time has come for Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to resume his rightful place as the president of the PML-N,” Shehbaz said.

"It is with a deep sense of duty and reverence for our party’s principles that I tender my resignation as the president,” he said.

In 2017, the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz as premier and party president for his alleged corruption in cases related to the Panama Papers revelations about his illegal wealth stashed abroad.

He relinquished his position within the party following his disqualification, which also led to his departure from the prime minister's office.

Nawaz was all set to become prime minister for the fourth time but his party failed to get a clear majority in the National Assembly on its own in the February 8 general elections.

In a surprise move, he allowed his younger brother and the incumbent party president Shehbaz -- who is considered the favourite of the military establishment -- to lead a six-party coalition government at the Centre.

Shehbaz's resignation comes amidst internal tensions within the ruling party in Punjab and at the federal level.

Several prominent figures within the party, including Rana Sanaullah, Javed Latif, Senator Javed Abbasi, and former Senator Asif Saeed Kirmani, have publicly criticised the leadership.

PML-N's Punjab unit has already unanimously passed the resolution to make Nawaz the party president.(PTI)

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