The Joint Opposition’s candidate Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan, after the former Prime Minister Imran Khan was voted out of office through a no-confidence motion on Saturday, April 9.
Shehbaz bagged a total of 174 votes as opposed to PTI’s candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Qureshi received no votes after his party decided to boycott the polling process.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Ayaz Sadiq presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said his conscience did not allow him to conduct the session.
Born in Lahore in 1950, Shehbaz is the younger brother of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. Shehbaz has served three times as Punjab’s chief minister.
Taking the floor, the newly-elected prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said that it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a prime minister was ousted through the no-confidence motion.
April 11 historic day
Terming April 11 a “historic day”, he mentioned that the happiness of the people can be seen through the economic indicators. Shehbaz mentioned that the rupee regained its value — which was trading at Rs190 per dollar and closed at Rs182 per dollar today.
‘Will probe threat letter’
The newly-elected prime minister said the Opposition was discussing the no-confidence motion days before Imran Khan’s “concocted threat letter controversy”.
“They say that this letter came to them on March 7, but our decisions were made way before that, so, if [what the previous government claimed] is a lie, then the matter should be disclosed transparently before the public,” he said.
PM Shehbaz Sharif announced that the parliament’s security committee would be given a briefing on the “threat letter” to the members of the committee in presence of the armed forces personnel and bureaucrats — the director-general Inter-Services Intelligence, foreign secretary, and the ambassador who wrote it, who has now been transferred to Brussels.
“If there’s an iota of evidence that we were backed by foreign conspirators […] then with you Mr speaker and God as my witness, I will not think for another second and resign from the office of the prime minister,” PM Shehbaz Sharif said, vowing to hold an in-camera session of the security committee at the earliest.
Shehbaz Sharif said that hard work was required for Pakistan’s progress as if only statements could move the country forward, then during PTI’s tenure, we would have been among the leading nations.
“We will need to wash out the effects of the previous government by working together, otherwise, we will fail […] our economy is in a bad situation right now,” the prime minister said.
“We will need to wash out the effects of the previous government by working together, otherwise, we will fail […] our economy is in a bad situation right now,” said PM Shehbaz.
“The minimum wage will be jacked up to Rs25,000 (from April 1). 10 per cent increase in pensions of retired civil, and military officials (from April 1). Cheap wheat to be introduced at utility stores.”
“Laptop and technical education for youth. Reintroduction of Benazir Card. Appeal to industrialists to increase salaries of employees who earn up to Rs100,000 by 10 per cent.”
Shehbaz’s take on foreign policy
Shehbaz said China has been Pakistan’s partner through thick and thin. “No one can snatch Pakistan and China’s friendship from us,” he said, calling it a “long-lasting relation.”
“But this friendship is for forever and … I assure that we will make progress on the CPEC,” he added, thanking Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Speaking about India, the newly-elected prime minister lamented that despite them wanting peaceful ties with India, they know that until the Kashmir issue is resolved, relations between the two cannot be strengthened.
Urging Indian premier Narendra Modi to understand the issues of the people living on both sides, he questioned there is poverty, unemployment, medical issues, etc. then “why are we harming ourselves and the generations to come?”
“Why do we want our coming generations to suffer. Come, let’s resolve the Kashmir issue in line with United Nation resolutions and Kashmiris’ expectations, so that we are able to end poverty on both sides of the border.”
Underlining the significance of having good ties with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, European Union nations, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, and Iran, he said that ties needed to be strengthened with the US on the basis of equality and “we need to raise our voice for Afghanistan” where the situation was dire.
“We want peace in Afghanistan.”
The session was subsequently adjourned till 4pm on April 16.
Sanjrani administers the oath to Shehbaz in President Alvi’s absence
Prior to the ceremony, President Dr Arif Alvi had complained of discomfort and was advised to rest for a few days, according to an update posted on his Twitter account.
In the president’s absence, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administered the oath to PM Shehbaz.
Modi, Turkey’s Erdogan congratulate Shehbaz on becoming PM
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday congratulated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on becoming the 23rd premier of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, in a telephonic conversation with Shehbaz, Turkish President Erdogan told the newly-elected prime minister that he was “extremely happy” about him being elected as the premier.
Guard of honour
Earlier this morning, the premier was given a Guard of Honour at Prime Minister’s House.
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