Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Pakistan: Shehbaz Sharif becomes PM, Imran Khan’s followers protest vote count

Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday became the prime minister of Pakistan for a second time, after winning a majority in the newly-elected Parliament.

Shehbaz (72) was the joint candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

While he received 201 votes in the 336-member house, the rival candidate Omar Ayub Khan backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secured 92 votes.

The oath taking ceremony will take place on Monday at the Presidential mansion, Aiwan-e-Sadr.

Shehbaz earlier served as prime minister of a coalition government from April 2022 to August 2023, after the former PM Imran Khan was impeached and sent to jail.

The elections were held while Khan remained incarcerated. His party was barred from participating in the polls with their iconic cricket bat symbol.

PTI-backed members protested against the proceedings of the new parliament. They interrupted the session by sloganeering, Associated Press reported.

Lawmakers from Khan’s PTI repeatedly chanted “Vote-thief!”, as Shehbaz Sharif, the newly elected PM, entered the parliament with his brother Nawaz Sharif.

Khan-backed members told reporters that they will continue their campaign, both inside and outside the parliament, to protest the rigging of the election and the vote count.

“Yes, the election has been rigged,” Gohar Ali Khan, the current head of PTI, told AP.

The party has announced nationwide protest rallies, as it claims the results were changed in dozens of constituencies to prevent it from winning a majority.

The election was held against the backdrop of widespread attacks against booths and ballot rigging.

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