But the choice is not without risk for the Sharifs’ party, the Pakistan Muslim League.
Though he is seen as popular, Shehbaz Sharif has also been dogged by accusations of police brutality under his watch as Punjab’s chief minister. And he has been criticized for doing too little to curb extremist sectarian groups in the province.
There are long-term questions about his health, as well. Over the years, Shehbaz Sharif has undergone multiple treatments for cancer, including of the spinal cord.
His supporters insist that the hard-nosed style he was known for in early years has softened somewhat. And advisers say that his medical challenges over the years have driven his recent campaign of social development.
In a statement to The New York Times on Friday night, before his selection was publicly confirmed, Mr. Sharif acknowledged that he would be taking the reins