Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is set to take charge as the prime minister of Pakistan five days after the unceremonious exit of Nawaz Sharif. Abbasi is widely expected to remain as the Pakistani premier for 45 days until the former leader's brother, Shahbaz Sharif, manages to secure a seat in Parliament's lower house to become the prime minister.

Abbasi formally submitted his papers to the house speaker, Ayaz Sadiq, seeking a mandate to form the government as he has the support of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N). His election on Tuesday, 1 August, was clearly one-sided as the governing party has enough numbers with the other minor opposition parties left divided.

Five other candidates have also submitted their nomination papers but they stand no chance given the PML-N's numbers in the National Assembly. Abbasi, a veteran political figure and former petroleum minister, was picked the ruling party's candidate after Sharif threw his weight behind him.

While a winning contender requires a minimum of 172 votes in the 343-seat assembly, Abbasi is tipped to cross the 200 mark comfortably.

Abbasi was formerly an electrical engineer and then a businessman before he waded into Pakistan's troubled politics after his father's death. Abbasi has been sent to the National Assembly ever since he started contesting elections from the Rawalpindi constituency in 1988.

Abbasi is also a controversial figure as he currently faces an enquiry into an alleged multi-million dollar corruption scandal. Though the opposition political forces protested against Abbasi's nomination, the house speaker allowed him to contest asking the opponents to raise the matter at a different forum.

Ahead of his election, Abbasi vowed to walk in the footsteps of Sharif in implementing his policies and also pledged to form the cabinet after discussions.

Abbasi was brought to the political centre-stage after the country's Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from his post for corruption and money laundering. A political drama unfolded in Pakistan following Sharif's name figuring in the Panama Papers scandal, which culminated in his removal from office.

Pakistan prime minister
Pakistan's former petroleum minister and prime minister designate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi leaves after submitting his nomination papers to become the new premier at the Parliament House in Islamabad, Pakistan Faisal Mahmood/Reuters