Shehbaz Sharif becomes Pakistan’s Prime Minister for the second time

Shehbaz Sharif

New Delhi: In a historic election, Shehbaz Sharif, the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the second time on Sunday. He secured 201 votes in the National Assembly, defeating his rival Omar Ayub Khan, the candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who got 92 votes.

Shehbaz Sharif, 72, is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, who served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan three times before being disqualified by the Supreme Court in 2017 on corruption charges. Shehbaz Sharif had previously served as the Prime Minister from June 2018 to August 2018, after his brother stepped down following the court verdict. He had also rejected the offer of his brother to take the fourth term as the Prime Minister, saying that he wanted to focus on his role as the Chief Minister of Punjab province.

The election of Shehbaz Sharif came after a turbulent and controversial general election on February 8, which was marred by allegations of rigging, violence, arrests, and internet shutdowns. The election results were also delayed for several hours, raising suspicions among the opposition parties and the public. The PTI, led by former cricketer and Prime Minister Imran Khan, emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly with 115 seats but fell short of the majority mark of 137. The PML-N came second with 64 seats, followed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 43 seats.

The PTI had formed a coalition government with several smaller parties and independents but faced a strong challenge from the opposition alliance of PML-N, PPP, and other parties, who accused the PTI of manipulating the election results with the help of the military and the judiciary. The opposition alliance also demanded the release of Imran Khan, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on corruption charges a day before the election. The opposition parties staged protests and boycotts in the parliament, demanding a fresh and fair election.

Shehbaz Sharif

The election of Shehbaz Sharif as the Prime Minister was announced by the National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Sunday, after the first session of the newly elected parliament on Thursday. The election was held under tight security, as the supporters of Imran Khan and the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), a religious party allied with the PTI, continued to protest outside the parliament building. The SIC claimed that the election was rigged against them and demanded an audit of the votes.

Shehbaz Sharif, in his acceptance speech, thanked the members of the parliament for their trust and support and vowed to work for the welfare and development of the country. He also appealed to the opposition parties to end their protests and join hands with the government for the sake of national unity and stability. He said that he would try to resolve the issues of the people, especially the poor and the marginalized, and improve the relations with the neighboring countries, especially India. He also expressed his hope that his brother Nawaz Sharif would be cleared of all the charges and return to the country soon.