Pakistan lawmakers elect Sharif as new PM
After the ousting of Imran Khan, Pakistan's Parliament elects Shehbaz Sharif as the new PM, amid heavy opposition from Khan's party.
Shehbaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan's new Prime Minister on Monday, following the weekend ouster of Imran Khan, who resigned his national assembly seat – along with the majority of his party members – ahead of the vote.
Khan was dismissed Sunday after losing a no-confidence vote.
Sharif, the leader of the centrist Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), was the only candidate after Khan loyalist and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi withdrew his candidacy and resigned his seat.
Earlier, Al Mayadeen correspondent reported that the Pakistani Parliament withheld confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that the result of the vote came in favor of withdrawing confidence from Khan with 174 votes.
It is unclear whether lawmakers from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party will be able to participate after the committee recommended that they resign en masse in protest of what they call US’ "regime change".
As many as 20 of the 155 PTI lawmakers said they would vote no-confidence in Khan on Sunday, but their support faded after the coalition partner defected.
His first task will be to form a cabinet that includes members of the center-left Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as well as the smaller conservative Jamiat-ul-Islam-F (JUI-F).
Enmity will lead to the deterioration of relations
The PPP and PML-N are dynastic parties that have dominated Pakistani politics for decades, usually as bitter rivals, but their relations are bound to deteriorate in the run-up to the next election, which must take place by October 2023.
They must deal with soaring inflation, a weak rupee, and crippling debt, while militancy is on the rise, with Pakistan's Taliban emboldened by the hardline Islamist group's return to power in neighboring Afghanistan last year.
Who is Shehbaz Sharif?
Shehbaz Sharif is the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Pakistani media are already speculating that the latter will soon return from exile in the United Kingdom.
#ShehbazSharif, #ImranKhan's successor, has a remarkable history of corruption along with his family.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) April 11, 2022
Does Sharif's election confirm the ex-PM's claims of #US meddling in #Pakistan's internal affairs? pic.twitter.com/W7TeR4nVCQ
After the Panama Papers revelations, the elder Sharif was dismissed in 2017 and later jailed for ten years by an accountability court on graft charges but was released to seek medical treatment abroad.
The younger Sharif is also embroiled in graft investigations. In 2019, the National Accountability Bureau seized nearly two dozen of his and his son Hamza's properties, accusing them of money laundering.
He was arrested and detained in September 2020 but was released on bail six months later for a trial that is still ongoing.
Sharif, 70, is a seasoned politician in his own right, having inherited his family's steel business as a young man and being elected to provincial office for the first time in 1988.
He is regarded as a tough administrator, feared for his frequent "surprise visits" to government institutions and a penchant for quoting revolutionary poetry.