Raja Pervez Ashraf of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a
former federal minister in the government of ousted prime minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani, was Friday elected the country's 25th prime
minister by 211 votes to 89 by a special session of the National
Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PML-N) got 89 votes, Geo News reported.
The prime minister's post became vacant after the Supreme Court
disqualified Gilani with effect from April 26 after his conviction
for contempt of court for refusing to write to the Swiss
authorities to reopen corruption case against President Asif Ali
Tipped earlier as a cover candidate, Ashraf was Thursday named the
main candidate for following the issue of a non-bailable arrest
warrant against the previous contender Makhdoom Shahabuddin.
Shahabuddin's name was dropped after an anti-narcotics court
Thursday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him in an
illegal drugs quota case.
President Asif Ali Zardari Friday evening congratulated Ashraf on
his win, and said his election as prime minister was "an
indication of the nation's confidence in democracy", Dawn News
Ashraf - former minister for water and power, and information and
technology - was Friday morning officially declared as the joint
candidate for the post of prime minister by the PPP and its
allies, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP)
and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
Speaking to the media alongside Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid
leader Chaudhry Pervaz Elahi, Ashraf said his main priority would
be to deal with and overcome the energy crisis in the country.
As the National Assembly session began, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl
(JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who was also a prme
ministerial candidate, appealed to the speaker to adjourn the
proceedings due to the death of member Fauzia Wahab.
PPP member Naveed Qamar said the session was an important one and
could not be adjourned, as the election of the prime minister was
imperative to run the business of the government.
Following this exchange, Rehman announced his party would not be
voting in the election and that he was withdrawing his
Earlier, the nomination papers of PPP's Makhdoom Shahabuddin and
Qamar Zaman Kaira were also withdrawn.
Opposition members also shouted slogans like "What was the price?"
targeting the JUi-F chief.
Earlier in the day, PPP leader Khursheed Shah met Rehman at his
residence to request the JUI-F chief to withdraw his candidature
from the prime ministerial election.
On Thursday night, the PPP and its coalition partners, at a
meeting chaired by Zardari, authorised the PPP to name the next
prime ministerial candidate.
During the meeting attended by leaders of the PML-Q, the MQM and
the ANP, the allies unanimously approved the name of Ashraf for
the post, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
Gilani was also disqualified as member of the National Assembly
from the NA-151, Multan constituency. By-elections for the seat
that fell vacant will be held July 19.