Islamabad, Aug. 17: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was elected Pakistan’s new prime minister on Friday after he defeated veteran politician Shehbaz Sharif in a one-sided election in the National Assembly.
The election for the top post had become just a formality after the Pakistan Peoples Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (54 seats) abstained from voting following a rift over Sharif’s candidature.
Khan, 65, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), secured 176 votes while his only rival and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Sharif got 96 votes, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser announced.
After the announcement of the result, PML-N lawmakers chanted slogans against Khan and protested in the House. Khan will take oath as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister on Saturday.
In all, 172 votes in the 342-member Lower House of Parliament are needed to form a government in Pakistan. The voting was held in the open through division of members in different galleries designated for different candidates.
The PPP lawmakers remained seated during the voting process. The Jamaat-i-Islami did not take part in the voting. In a last-ditch effort to persuade the PPP to vote for Sharif, senior PML-N leader and former speaker Ayaz Sadiq went to Bhutto’s seat and tried to convince him to change his decision to abstain from voting, sources said. Even Sharif spoke to Bhutto to persuade him not to abstain. However, Bhutto excused himself from voting, they added. PTI
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