Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan on Friday defeated veteran politician Shahbaz Sharif in a one-sided election in the National Assembly to become the new prime minister of Pakistan.
The election for the top post became just a formality after the Pakistan Peoples Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with 54 seats abstained from voting following a rift over Sharif’s candidature.
In Fridays' vote, the PTI chief received 176 votes in his favour, while his opponent, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif, received 96 votes.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief will take oath as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan on Saturday (August 18,2018). The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the President House and President Mamnoon Hussain will administer the oath.
A total of 172 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament are needed to form a government.
During the voting, the PTI chief received support of smaller parties including Muttahida Quami Movement with seven seats, Balochistan Awami Party five, Balochistan National Party four, Pakistan Muslim League three, Grand Democratic Alliance three, Awami Muslim League and Jamori Watan Party one seat each.
In a last-ditch effort to pursue 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 adding even Sharif spoke to Bhutto to persuade him not to abstain but Bhutto excused himself from voting.
Sharif, the younger brother of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, served as Punjab chief minister from 2013 to 2018. He became PML-N president after his elder brother was barred from holding the top party position and public posts.
The PTI emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats in July 25 elections. Its number increased to 125 after nine independent members joined it and final tally reached 158 after it was allotted 28 out of 60 seats reserved for women and five out of 10 seats reserved for minorities.
(With inputs from PTI)