Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Shehbaz Sharif re-elected as Pak Prime Minister


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Islamabad, March 3: Pledging to revive Pakistan’s debt-trapped economy and eradicate terrorism, newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday said his government would not allow the country to become part of some “great game” and would maintain cordial relations with neighbours based on the principles of equality.
In his victory speech in the National Assembly soon after he was elected as the 24th prime minister and for a second time since 2022, the 72-year-old profusely thanked his elder brother and three-time former premier Nawaz Sharif and allies for putting their trust in him and allowing him to head a coalition government after last month’s election resulted in a hung Parliament.
While Shehbaz secured 201 votes, his challenger Omar Ayub Khan of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) got only 92 votes in the election held at the newly-elected National Assembly.
Shehbaz said that as no party secured a clear parliamentary majority, it was “the democratic way” that “like-minded parties may form a coalition government”.
Following the February 8 marred by allegations of vote rigging, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) headed by Nawaz Sharif, reached a coalition deal with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by former foreign minister Bilawal Zardari-Bhutto.
This post-poll deal effectively ensured that jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s PTI party would not return to power though independent candidates backed by it won the maximum number of seats in Parliament.
Amidst vociferous sloganeering by the members of Khan’s party members against alleged “mandate thieves,” Shehbaz warned that Pakistan was facing an alarming debt crisis where even the expenditures of the National Assembly were being paid by borrowing money.
He said that his government would work hard and set a goal to become a member of G20 countries by 2030. The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies.
He said that Pakistan would not become part of any “great game” and his government would increase the number of friends.
He pledged to build and improve ties with all leading nations, including its neighbours.
Shehbaz, however, raked up the Kashmir issue and equated it with Palestine. “Let’s all come together [.] and the National Assembly should pass a resolution for the freedom of Kashmiris and Palestinians,” he added.
Shehbaz also promised to end terrorism in the country and address its root causes. He said his government aims to take the National Action Plan (NAP) forward.
Shehbaz was first sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister in April 2022, after Khan was dramatically ousted from power in a parliamentary no-confidence vote. (PTI)


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