Islamabad: Cricket Legend and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was on Friday formally elected as Pakistan's 22nd Prime Minister, marking the pinnacle of his 22-year-long political career.
Khan clinched victory with 176 seats while his opponent, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, secured 96 votes in the polling that took place in the National Assembly today, Dawn reported.
The election for the top post became just a formality after the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with 54 seats abstained from voting following a rift over Sharif's candidature.
A total of 172 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament are needed to form a government.
The voting was held in open through division of members in different galleries designated for different candidates. The PPP lawmakers remained seated during the voting process. The Jamaat-i-Islami did not take part in the voting.
In a last-ditch effort to pursue the PPP to vote for Sharif, senior PML-N leader and former speaker Ayaz Sadiq went to Bhutto's seat and tried to convince him to change his decision to abstain from voting, sources said.
Even Sharif spoke to Bhutto to persuade him not to abstain. However, Bhutto excused himself from voting, they added.
The swearing in ceremony will be held on Saturday.
Besides other international dignitaries, Imran Khan has invited former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu, and ace bollywood star Aamir Khan for the swearing in ceremony. While others have excused him, Sidhu, who is a MP from Punjab, has reached Pakistan and will be present when Imran Khan will take oath as Prime Minister of Pakistan on Saturday.
The PTI emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats in July 25 elections. Its number increased to 125 after nine independent members joined it and final tally reached 158 after it was allotted 28 out of 60 seats reserved for women and five out of 10 seats reserved for minorities.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan, in his first speech following his victory, promised "the change that this nation is starving for".
"We have to have strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them," he asserted.
"I did not climb on any dictator's shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years. Only one leader struggled more than me, and that was my hero, Jinnah. Twice every month I will answer to the people during the question-answer session in the assembly."
"The money that was laundered, I will bring it back — the money that should have gone towards health, education, and water, went into people's pockets," said a charged Khan, moving on to address allegations of election rigging.
"I want to ask the people who are yelling here why they didn't investigate the four constituencies that I asked for.
"Why didn't they investigate then? Why didn't they hold people accountable? Why didn't the [PML-N] government take action?"
"When I was asking for investigation, these people accused me of being a planted by the establishment," Khan continued.
"We [government] will cooperate with you [PML-N] even if you want to take your complaints to the Supreme Court. You can make as much noise as you want or even hold a dharna — we will provide you the container and food for it", he said.
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