Shehbaz Sharif elected new Prime Minister

Pakistan’s opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif. Courtesy: Instagram

Islamabad, April 11 (IANS): Shehbaz Sharif, the leader of opposition PML-N has been elected unopposed as Pakistan’s next Prime Minister following Imran Khan’s ouster by a no-confidence vote on April 9, media reports said. Before the election of the new Prime Minister, Imran Khan resigned as a member of the National Assembly, saying he would not sit in the assemblies with “thieves”. His party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), boycotted the voting with the party MNAs staging a walkout. Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the PTI Prime Ministerial candidate.

Harping on the “foreign agenda” angle, minutes before the session, former information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the Pakistan PTI has decided to boycott the election of the new Prime Minister and resign en masse from the National Assembly, said senior party leader Fawad Chaudhry after a parliamentary meeting of the party on April 11, media reports said.

In a video message after the meeting, the former Information Minister said PTI Chairman Imran Khan has decided that the PTI would not legitimise “this foreign-funded regime change” in Pakistan by taking part in the election of the Premier, Express Tribune reported.

“The parliamentary meeting of the PTI gave Imran Khan the complete authority to make decisions on the lawmakers’ behalf.”

Chaudhry said as per the directions of Imran Khan, no PTI lawmaker will vote in the election for the PM and after that, the PTI MNAs will also send their resignations to the National Assembly Speaker.

He also acknowledged that there was a difference of opinion over the decision to resign en masse from the assembly but the parliamentary party gave Imran Khan the authority to make this decision who decided in favour of resignations, Express Tribune reported.

Imran Khan claimed that there were two mega corruption cases against PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif and it would be the “biggest insult to the country” to elect him as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, PTI General Secretary Asad Umar, in a letter, told party lawmakers to vote for Shah Mehmood Qureshi else they will be considered defectors and disqualified under Article 63-A.

Meanwhile, a large number of Imran Khan supporters gathered at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk and protested against the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, media reported.  Big gatherings were also reported from other parts of the Punjab province, including Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Vehari, Jehlum and Gujrat districts. Islamabad and Karachi also witnessed massive protests.