Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan after 174 lawmakers voted in his favour as the party of former prime minister Imran Khan boycotted the election.

Sharif became PM following the removal of Imran Khan in a vote of no confidence.

As the parliamentarians gathered at the National Assembly to elect the country’s new prime minister, the lawmakers of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) resigned en masse and walked out of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said his conscience did not allow him to conduct the session. “Mian Mohammed Shehbaz Sharif has secured 174 votes,” Sadiq announced.

In his inaugural address to the house as the prime minister, Shehbaz said it was the first time in Pakistan's history that a no-confidence motion against a prime minister had been successful. Shehbaz said it was a "big day" for the entire nation when a “selected prime minister” was sent packing in a legal and constitutional manner. Shehbaz Sharif vowed to bring down inflation and promised relief to the people.

In his first major announcement, he raised the minimum wage to Rs25,000 and 10 per cent increase in salaries of all those earning less than Rs100,000 monthly. He also announced laptops for youth. Sharif also announced arranging an in-camera briefing to discuss the “document” that former prime minister Imran Khan’s government said was “evidence of foreign conspiracy and linked with no-confidence motion aimed at regime change in Pakistan.”

Sharif said the services chiefs, DG ISI, the Foreign Secretary and the Ambassador to the US will be invited to the briefing.

The 70-year-old leader hails from a family of industrialists and a political dynasty. Shehbaz Sharif has served as Punjab's chief minister three times. He is the younger brother of three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who had been convicted in corruption cases by the court and barred from holding public office for life.

The new prime minister’s swearing-in ceremony will be held later on Monday.

Earlier, Shah Mehmoud Qureshi, who was the PTI’s candidate for prime minister, said the people of Pakistan had decided to reject the coalition of opposition parties and “do not want to participate in a sin to legitimise an illegitimate government,” Qureshi said in his speech on the floor of the House.

PTI has demanded fresh elections and going to the public to end the political uncertainty following the no-confidence motion which the PTI members term an “imposed regime” and link the motion with “foreign conspiracy.”

PTI announced resignations after a massive, unprecedented public demonstration on Sunday night in several cities of Pakistan in support of Imran Khan, signalling PTI’s growing popularity among the masses.

Imran Khan became the first Pakistani Prime Minister to lose a no-confidence vote after opposition parties secured 174 votes in the 342-seat assembly in support of the no-confidence motion that the country’s Supreme Court had said must be held on Saturday. The motion was first brought last week but

Khan’s government blocked it and dissolved the parliament.