Imran Khan elected Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister

Islamabad: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was elected Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister by the country’s National Assembly on Friday, three weeks after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the highest number of seats in the general election.

Khan, 65, secured 176 votes out of the total 272 cast in polling in the lower house, while his opponent Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) got 96 votes, according to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.

The PTI chairman will be sworn in as Prime Minister on Saturday by President Mamnoon Hussain.

The announcement of Khan’s election came amid protests from opposition lawmakers who shouted slogans denouncing alleged electoral fraud during the July 25 election.

Addressing the house amid a ruckus by PML-N members and cheering by PTI legislators, a charged Khan said: “I promise my nation today that we will bring the tabdeeli (change) that this nation was starving for.

“We have to hold strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them.”

“I did not climb on any dictator’s shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years. Only one leader struggled more than me and that was my hero, Jinnah.

“The money that was laundered, I will bring it back – the money that should have gone towards health, education, and water, went into people’s pockets,” said Khan, moving on to allegations of vote rigging. “I want to ask the people who are yelling here why they didn’t investigate the four constituencies that I asked for.”

“Why didn’t they investigate then? Why didn’t they hold people accountable? Why didn’t the (PML-N) government take action?”

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the third largest party in the house that joined the PML-N and others in an opposition alliance, withdrew its support for Shehbaz Sharif’s candidature as Premier, days before the election and abstained from voting, Dawn online reported.

One member of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which contested elections under the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) banner, also abstained from voting for either candidate.

According to Geo News, among the first steps the PTI-led government aims to take is a reshuffling of the top federal and provincial bureaucracy under its first 100-day plan. The strategy was finalized in a top-level huddle attended by Khan and the senior party leadership on Thursday.

The reshuffle includes changing the chiefs of federal and provincial state institutions and officers previously appointed under political pressure.

Geo News cited sources as saying that Khan has also decided to change the heads of the Federal Board of Revenue, Railways, Pakistan International Airlines and a few other institutions.

Earlier, PTI leaders spoke about the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the creation of South Punjab province and giving greater authority to the government in Balochistan, as a part of their plan.