ISLAMABAD: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is set to become Pakistan´s interim prime minister, is the former federal minister for petroleum and natural resources, and a businessman who launched the country´s most successful private airline.
Considered highly intelligent and a long-time loyalist of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister who was ousted by the Supreme Court on Friday, the 58-year-old Abbasi will act as a placeholder for the Sharif dynasty.
He is due to be rubber stamped by in a parliamentary vote as prime minister until Sharif´s younger brother Shahbaz, a provincial minister, can be elected to the national assembly and take over the leadership.
Abbasi was appointed oil minister when Nawaz Sharif won his third election in 2013.
Educated in the US at George Washington University, he was born in Karachi but is a member of the National Assembly from Murree — a hill station that is a favourite holiday destination for Sharif.
Abbasi worked in the US and Saudi Arabia as an electrical engineer before joining politics after his father, a minister in General Zia ul-Haq´s government, was killed when an ammunition dump belonging to Pakistan´s powerful Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI) exploded in Rawalpindi in 1988.
Abbasi has been elected six times as a member of the National Assembly since then, and has previously served as minister for commerce and defence production.
He was the chairman of national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from 1997 to 1999, until General Pervez Musharraf overthrew Sharif´s second government.
Abbasi was arrested after the coup and imprisoned for two years before being released.
In 2003, he setup a private airline Air Blue, the country´s most successful private airline and challenger to PIA.