Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s parliament has elected Shehbaz Sharif as the country’s new prime minister following the weekend removal of Imran Khan in a vote of no confidence.
Ahead of the vote on Monday, MPs from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party resigned en masse, boycotting the election of Sharif, the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has been elected as prime minister,” said Acting Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
In his first address as prime minister in the National Assembly, Sharif announced an increase in salaries, pensions and the minimum wage for labourers.
Sharif discussed the foreign-policy failures of the outgoing government and said he will expedite the multibillion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and rebuild broken ties with partners and allies.
“We want good relations with India but there cannot be sustainable peace unless the issue of Kashmir is resolved,” he said.
Sharif invited his Indian counterpart to help solve the Kashmir dispute in line with United Nations resolutions.
The prime minister did not miss the opportunity to deal with the allegations levelled by Khan that the United States conspired with his opponents to topple his government.
Sharif ordered an in-camera briefing of the parliamentary committee on national security. Senior civil and military officials, including Pakistan’s foreign ambassador in Washington, will also attend the meeting.
“I will step down and if there is an iota of evidence [against me],” he said.
Earlier, Sharif secured 174 votes and will now form a new government that can remain in place until August 2023, when general elections are due.
No prime minister has ever completed a five-year term in office during the country’s nearly 75-year history.
The parliamentary vote was held under tight security, with nearly all roads leading to the National Assembly sealed.