According to Pakistani parliamentarians, Shahbaz Sharif is the new Prime Minister of Pakistan
Members of Imran Khan’s party walked out of parliament after he was ousted as prime minister. On Monday, Pakistan’s parliament elected an opposition lawmaker, Shahbaz Sharif, as the country’s new leader.
Sharif was the only one who could win. His election will not ensure a peaceful road forward or alleviate Pakistan’s myriad economic issues, such as high inflation and a soaring energy crisis. He is the brother of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
After more than 100 members of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Pakistan Justice Party, staged a walkout of the National Assembly in protest, Shahbaz Sharif was elected with 174 votes in his favor.
Asad Sadiq, the acting speaker, declared Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif “has been declared Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
The previous opposition will now control a shortened house with a slim majority of 174 legislators, enough to enact measures in the 342-seat legislature. If Khan’s supporters take to the streets, as he has predicted, it would add to the pressure on Parliament and exacerbate the crisis.
Khan, a former cricketer who served in office for three years and eight months and was known for his strict Islamist philosophy and steadfast independence, was dismissed early Sunday after losing a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
The opposition pushed Khan out with 174 votes, two more than the required simple majority. Khan was deserted by his party allies and a key coalition partner.
In a show of strength, Khan rallied hundreds of thousands of followers late Sunday to protest his dismissal, calling the future government an “installed government” in a show of strength and foreshadowing the political instability ahead.
Khan’s fans marched across Pakistan, holding giant party flags and pledging their support. The audiences were dominated by Khan’s followers, who are mostly young.
Some people were crying, while others were yelling chants promising Khan’s return.
Khan has also sought early elections, which are not scheduled to take place until August 2023. He has exploited anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, accusing Washington of plotting against him with his opponents.
His conspiracy idea is appealing to young people who think that the U.S. government has been unfairly targeting Pakistan in its fight against terrorism since September 11, 2001.
Pakistan’s political drama began on April 3, when Khan disbanded Parliament and called early elections to avoid an initial no-confidence vote sought by the opposition.
The opposition, which accuses Khan of mismanagement of the economy, has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
The court reinstated Parliament after four days of deliberation, and the no-confidence vote was held. On Saturday, a lengthy Parliament session began, and Khan was expelled early the next day.
Khan alleges the opposition worked with the US to destabilize him, ostensibly because of his autonomous foreign policy, which favors China and Russia.
He was also chastised for a trip to Moscow on February 24th, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin while Russian tanks pushed into Ukraine.
The State Department of the United States has denied any role in Pakistani politics.
The opposition coalition includes parties from both sides of the political spectrum, ranging from the left to the profoundly religious.
Parties led by Shahbaz Sharif and the Pakistan People’s Party, which is led by the son and husband of Benazir Bhutto, are the two most powerful in Pakistan.
For decades, Pakistan’s politics has been dominated by a few affluent and influential families, with power frequently passing between the Sharif and Bhutto camps. Both political parties have been accused of extensive corruption and have been found guilty at times—but both have disputed the claims.
After being convicted in connection with financial irregularities revealed in the so-called Panama Papers—a collection of leaked secret financial documents showing how some of the world’s wealthiest hide their money and involving a global law firm based in Panama—Nawaz Sharif was deposed by the Supreme Court in 2015. Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared him ineligible to hold public office.
Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was elected president of Pakistan after the 2008 elections and spent more than seven years in prison after being convicted of corruption.
Both families claim that the allegations of corruption against them are politically motivated.
A lot of people say that when Khan took office in 2018, he said that he would end Pakistan’s family rule. His opponents say that he won the election because Pakistan’s powerful military helped him.
In a military coup in 1999, Nawaz Sharif was deposed, and Benazir Bhutto’s government was deposed many times after the military sided with her opponents. It’s not always easy to tell who your friends and allies are in Pakistani politics, so Bhutto’s strongest opponents were often from Sharif’s party.
Shahbaz Sharif has served as chief minister of Pakistan’s largest and most powerful province, Punjab, which is home to 60 percent of the country’s 220 million inhabitants.
Last Monday, the Punjab province parliament elected his son Hamza as the new chief minister, deposing Khan’s choice. Khan’s party is contesting the election, while Sharif, the younger, has not yet been sworn in.