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.
Pakistan's ruling party reportedly intends to appoint the brother of just ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as his successor and its nominee to contest the 2018 general elections.
Abbasi previously served as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources in the third Sharif's ministry from 2013 to 2017 and briefly held the cabinet portfolio of Minister for Commerce and Ministry of Defence Production in the Gillani ministry in 2008.
Sharif's Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party holds a majority with 188 seats in the 342-member parliament so the changes are expected to go through swiftly.
He said cases should be opened against Maryam Nawaz (Sharif's daughter), Captain Muhammad Safdar (Maryam's husband), Hassan and Hussain Nawaz (PM Sharif's sons) as well as Prime Minister Sharif and a judgement should be announced within 30 days. He said he was grateful to Sharif for naming him premier, even though it will only be for a brief period.
The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office. In Pakistan's perpetual tug-of-war between its military and civilian branches, Sharif has had a strained relationship with the army, which was behind both his previous dismissals.
Meanwhile, the opposition has welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling against Sharif as a sign of progress and greater accountability in the country.
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Pakistan is going through a crucial phase in its politics, and we hope the political transition will follow the democratic norms and that democracy will not be subverted, despite the situation created by Sharif's departure, by any extraneous influence.
Sharif was investigated for corruption after the "Panama Papers" data leak revealed his family used offshore companies to buy posh London apartments.
The process to appoint a new PM started yesterday when Sharif chaired the PML-N meeting and proposed the name of Shehbaz and none of the participants raised any objection.
But his ouster was down to the little-used Article 62 of the Constitution, which allows for dismissal from office of anyone deemed dishonest.
It is notable that not a single Prime Minister in Pakistan has been allowed to complete his or her tenure since the country's inception 70 years ago.