ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly has elected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan, more than two decades after the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team entered politics.
Imran, whose party swept the July 25 general election and commands the loyalty of a majority of lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament, will take oath of office on Friday.
176 members of the National Assembly voted in favour of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson while his opponent, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif, received 96 votes.
After the PM’s election, PML-N lawmakers resorted to chanting slogans of ‘respect the vote’. Women lawmakers of PML-N and PTI also chanted slogans in favour of their parties.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the third largest party in the House that joined the PML-N and others in an opposition alliance, withdrew its support for Sharif’s candidacy as premier days before the election and abstained from voting. One member of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), which contested elections under the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) banner, also abstained from voting for either candidate.
PTI’s 100-day plan
Sources have told Geo News that among the first steps the PTI-led government aims to take is a reshuffling of the top federal and provincial bureaucracy under its first 100-day plan.
The strategy was finalised in a top-level huddle attended by the PTI chief and the top party leadership on Thursday. The reshuffle includes changing the chiefs of federal and provincial state institutions, and officers previously appointed on political pressure. Sources say Imran Khan has decided to change the heads of Federal Board of Revenue, NEPRA, Railways, Pakistan International Airlines and a few other institutions.
The PTI has decided to appoint people with expertise in the relevant department within first 100 days of the government. The government will evaluate the performance of its appointee after the 100-day deadline.
PTI introduced its first 100-day plan a few days before the July 25 general election. PTI leaders spoke about the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the creation of South Punjab province and giving greater authority to the government in Balochistan, as a part of their plan.
While speaking about economic growth, the incoming finance minister Asad Umar said that the party would create 10 million jobs within five years if their party comes to power. He said the party would promote the manufacturing industry and pave way for the growth of small and medium enterprises.
Umar also promised they would turn government guest-houses into hotels and open them for tourists. Besides, he added, five million houses would also be constructed for the homeless population of the country.
A part of PTI’s agenda would be improving the agriculture sector of the country, promised Tareen. He said their party would take measures to make agriculture profitable for farmers. Tareen added they would also provide financial help to farmers so that they could become self-sufficient.
‘PPP has the democratic right to abstain’
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told reporters that it was the democratic right of this party to abstain from voting in the prime minister election.
The PPP withdrew its support for Shehbaz Sharif on Friday and announced it would not be voting for any candidate.
‘Match isn’t over yet’
Imran Khan arrived at the Parliament House to chair a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary committee. “The match isn’t over. Only one part of the dream has been complete” Khan said upon his arrival.
In response to a question on who the party would name as its nominee for chief minister Punjab, Khan said the announcement would be made after the parliamentary party meeting.
‘How can you score a century if the match is fixed’
Shehbaz Sharif chairing a meeting of his party’s parliamentary committee also made a cricket reference in regards to the PM election. “How can you score a century if the match is fixed,” Sharif told reporters.