LAHORE -  The issue of succession in the Sharif family seems to have been settled in the high-level huddle of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which decided in London on Monday that if the party emerged victorious in next year's general elections, the party's prime ministerial candidate will be Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

As reported in a Geo News programme on Monday night, according to sources, it was also decided in the meeting, chaired by PML-N President and former premier Nawaz Sharif and attended by Shehbaz and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, among others, that statements on party policy will now be given by the Sharif brothers and not their respective children — Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz.

Federal Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said in this programme that Maryam and Hamza were not party leaders. “They are our brother and sister,” he said. 

During the London meeting, which lasted over three hours and was held at Hasan Nawaz's office, Shehbaz and the prime minister attempted to convince Nawaz to avoid clashing with state institutions, especially so close to next year's general elections.

Agreeing with the proposal, sources said Nawaz was of the opinion that one cannot be expected to stay quiet if an injustice has been meted out to him.

Moreover, Abbasi and Shehbaz have been directed to improve relations with state institutions and also place the PML-N's grievances before them.

During the news show, senior journalist Hamid Mir said the meeting was held in London as Nawaz wanted to speak freely. Mir contended that there is a difference of opinion on the way forward between the party and government. 

Mir also informed that the meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal.

Also, talking to reporters in London on Tuesday, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that people of Pakistan and not any individual could decide about any minus or plus formulas.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Nawaz Sharif, weighing in on the debate surrounding the minus-Nawaz formula for PML-N, remarked that it was the decision of the nation and not individuals. He remarked that “nation has the say on the decisions surrounding minus and plus formulas.” “Individuals cannot take such decisions on their own,” he added.

Rumours are rife pertaining to ‘minus-Nawaz’ formula for the ruling PML-N. However, party leaders have time and again claimed that this formula is unacceptable.

Earlier in the day, Punjab Law Minister and senior Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said that the party will not accept the 'minus-Nawaz' formula.

Meanwhile, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to return to the country on Thursday. Sharif, the three-time PM who is facing corruption and money laundering charges, will face the accountability court on Friday, said the party sources.

His wife, Kalsoom Nawaz, has been receiving treatment in London for throat cancer.