ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for prime minister slot Shahid Khaqan Abbassi on Sunday obtained nomination papers from National Assembly Secretariat and initiated meeting with heads of like-minded parliamentary parties to seek their support for his candidature.

Accompanied by the former federal ministers Sheikh Aftab, Abdul Qadir Baloch and others, Khaqan Abbasi showed up to the office of the speaker National Assembly for securing nomination papers.

Later, he went to the residence of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and sought his support in his election for the slot of the prime minister.

Talking to the media along with the JUI-F chief, Khaqan Abbasi said that the government implemented the apex court decision of removing the elected prime minister just to ensure the continuity of democratic order in the country. Neither the people of Pakistan nor the international community had accepted it, and of course, it would go down in history in the same fashion, he added.

The JUI-F chief said that they were part of the federal government and would surely be standing with them in these testing times. He said his party would support the PML-N so that country's journey towards progress and prosperity continues without any hurdle.

The central Majlis-i-Shoora of the party would take the final decision on extending support to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday, he added.

He, however, admired Khaqan Abbasi with whom he had close relations and hoped that he would take things forward to strengthen the democratic order in the country.

Responding to a question, Khaqan Abbasi said that the party would take all the decisions including the formation of the federal cabinet through consultation.

To a question about Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s induction in the cabinet, Abbasi said that Nisar would stay part of the party and admired his invaluable services for the party over the past three decades.

To a question about the surfacing of Iqamas of some senior PML-N leaders, he said that according to his understanding of legal matters, there was no harm in keeping Iqama as it was just a residence visa, “but nowadays laws are being interpreted in strange ways.”

He said that he had declared all his assets which were published in the Pakistan Gazette. “So those levelling baseless allegations [against me] should check their own acts first,” he maintained.

Khaqan Abbasi said opponents were free to file references against him.

He said he had been in politics for the last 30 years and had declared all his assets. The opponents could file multiple references against him, but they should avoid mudslinging on baseless grounds, he added.

He said the party had nominated him as a candidate for the office of prime minister and he would approach all the National Assembly members to vote for him.

To a query, he said despite reservations the Supreme Court's verdict had already been implemented.

Earlier, the PML-N initiated efforts to woo the support of coalition partners in the elections for the Leader of the House in National Assembly following the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister.

Earlier, during the meeting with JUI-F leadership, the two sides discussed Tuesday’s election of a new prime minister in the National Assembly. Khaqan Abbasi while answering a question about PML-Z chief said that he had half a century old relationship with Ejazul Haq and he would be one seconding his candidature on one of over dozen nomination forms to be filed with the National Assembly Secretariat.

Meanwhile, in another development Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad also secured nomination forms from the NA Secretariat and he would be having the backing of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

The opposition parties would be meeting at the Chamber of Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah today (Monday) to discuss the possibility of fielding a consensus candidate against the government nominee for the premiership.

But as PTI is not prepared to withdraw the candidature of Ahmad for the slot and would seek the support of PPP for their candidate which the PPP leadership would unlikely extend and in case of failure of opposition parties to bring a consensus candidate the PPP would also bring its own candidate and Khursheed Shah would likely be the party’s candidate.

Though in the presence of an overwhelming majority of the ruling PML-N in the Lower House of the Parliament, the election for the prime minister’s slot would be just a formality as the ruling PML-N alone has 188 MNAs while with the support of its coalition partners it would easily take the figure to over 200 members.

According to the elections schedule announced by the NA Secretariat, the nomination papers will be received till 2 pm on Monday, while the speaker National Assembly will scrutinise the papers at 3:00 pm and the list of final candidates would be displayed the same evening. The president has already summoned the National Assembly session on Tuesday at 3 in the afternoon.

After the election, the new prime minister will take the oath of his office. The president will administer the oath. After taking the oath, the new prime minister will announce the federal cabinet.