In this picture taken on March 28, 2022, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-N, Shahbaz Sharif (left) addresses a news conference as former Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari watches in Islamabad. (AAMIR QURESHI / AFP)
ISLAMABAD - The opposition's joint candidate Shahbaz Sharif was elected as the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan on Monday, said an official here.
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who chaired the National Assembly session to conduct the election for the country's new prime minister, said that 174 lawmakers in the 342-member house voted in the favor of Shahbaz as opposed to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party's candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who announced that his party decided to boycott the polling process and the National Assembly members from his party would resign.
Opposition parties were able to secure 174 votes in the 342-member house for the no-confidence motion, giving them the majority they needed to enable Monday's vote to elect a new premier
The development came after Khan lost the no-confidence vote in the lower house of parliament early Sunday.Sadiq presided over the session after Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri excused himself from conducting the session, saying the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition alliance against the former Prime Minister Imran Khan was a "foreign plot."
On March 28, the opposition parties presented the no-confidence motion against Khan in the National Assembly.
In his maiden address to the house as the prime minister-elect of Pakistan, Shahbaz said it was the first time in the country's history that a no-confidence motion against a prime minister has been successful.
"It is a big day for the entire nation," he said, adding that the economic indicators have already started showing positive signs, referring to the strengthening of the Pakistani rupee and stock market since the passage of the motion.
Shahbaz, the younger brother of three-times prime minister Nawaz Sharif, submitted his nomination to be Pakistan's next prime minister to the legislature on Sunday, his party said. Sharif was for years chief minister of Punjab province.
Khan, the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted by a no confidence vote, had clung on for almost a week after a united opposition first tried to remove him.
On Sunday, he repeated allegations that a foreign conspiracy was behind the regime change.
"The freedom struggle begins again today," he said via his Twitter account, which is followed by more than 15 million and still describes him as Prime Minister of Pakistan in his biography section.
Opposition parties were able to secure 174 votes in the 342-member house for the no-confidence motion, giving them the majority they needed to enable Monday's vote to elect a new premier.
Role Of Military?
Two sources who declined to be identified said the vote that ousted Khan went ahead after the powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, met Khan, as criticism mounted over the delay to the parliamentary process. The Supreme Court has also ordered parliament to convene and hold the vote.
The military has ruled the country of 220 million people for almost half its nearly 75-year history.
It viewed Khan and his conservative agenda favorably when he won election in 2018, but that support waned after a falling-out over the appointment of the influential military intelligence chief and economic troubles that led to the largest interest rate rise in decades this week.
Khan had antagonized the United States throughout his tenure, welcoming the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year and more recently accusing the United States of being behind the attempt to oust him. Washington dismissed the accusation.
With inputs from Reuters
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