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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Shehbaz Sharif Elected Pakistan Prime Minister Despite PTI Boycott

Shehbaz Sharif, president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was elected as Pakistan’s 23rd prime minister after lawmakers from Imran Khan’s PTI announced their resignations from the lower house of parliament, leaving the field open for the opposition.

According to Dawn and The Express Tribune, 174 lawmakers voted in favor of Shehbaz on Monday, after PTI lawmakers walked out with Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the party’s candidate for the top spot.

Ayaz Sadiq of the PML-N presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said his conscience would not allow him to do so.

Following his election, Shehbaz announced a number of policy initiatives he intended to implement as prime minister, with a particular emphasis on the economy and foreign relations.

In his first policy speech after being elected, Shehbaz unveiled a slew of populist measures and pushed for the rapid development of a key project under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, according to Bloomberg.

Sharif, who has a reputation for being a business-friendly administrator, stated that he wants to turn Pakistan into a “paradise” for investments in order to shore up an economy that has been weakened by declining foreign exchange reserves and a weaker rupee, according to the report.

The PML-N chief, a joint opposition party nominee, received 174 votes for the top post just days after PTI chief Imran Khan was ousted by the opposition parties in a no-trust vote. Despite the fact that the opposition alliance had the support of PTI dissidents, they did not vote and remained in the opposition’s lobbies.

Shehbaz was also a candidate for prime minister in 2018 when Imran Khan was elected with 176 votes. At the time, he had received 96 votes.

Even before the voting began and the process of power transition could be completed, PTI lawmakers left the house on Monday, shouting slogans against the opposition parties’ leaders as well as the United States of America.

After the PTI lawmakers announced their resignations and exited the chamber, Ayaz Sadiq began the voting process for the chief minister’s election. Ayaz also misspelled Shehbaz Sharif as Nawaz Sharif. He then apologized to Shehbaz, explaining that he “made the mistake because Nawaz was in his heart and mind.”

In his speech, Prime Minister-elect Shehbaz thanked the Supreme Court of Pakistan for ruling the deputy speaker’s ruling unconstitutional and “burying the doctrine of necessity forever.”

Despite the fact that the opposition parties have the support of PTI dissidents, they did not vote on Monday and instead remained in the opposition’s lobbies.

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