Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected Prime Minister by Pakistan’s National Assembly, becoming the interim leader of the country after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal.
Abbasi got elected after getting 221 votes in the House of 342. Naveed Qamar of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) got 47 votes, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf got 33 while Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah managed just four votes.
After announcing the results amid sloganeering, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq asked Abbasi to take the seat of the prime minister and address the House.
The voting was done with four corners being designated for four candidates where supporters of each candidate recorded their vote.
After the voting and counting process, many of the PML-N National Assembly members entered the House with posters of Sharif. The National Assembly Speaker objected to this and asked them to put away the placards and posters.
Abbasi will be sworn-in in later at a special ceremony at the President’s House, where President Mamnoon Hussain will administer the oath to him.
The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified 67-year-old Prime Minister Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing him to resign.
The National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, was summoned by President Hussain to elect the new leader.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominated Abbasi as interim Prime Minister until Sharif’s brother Shehbaz is elected as a National Assembly member.
Pakistan has seen such arrangements in the past too.
During former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf’s time, politician Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was appointed as an interim prime minister until Shaukat Aziz, who was nominated by Musharraf, got elected by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q).
Earlier in the day, the opposition parties’ meeting failed to result in agreement over a joint candidate.
Hours before the scheduled National Assembly session, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced to withdraw its candidate Kishwar Zehra in favour of Abbasi. The MQM’s 24 MPs backed Abbasi.
Major political parties fielded their respective candidates for the premier’s post.
The National Assembly’s second biggest party in terms of numbers, the PPP, nominated Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah and Qamar. However, at the eleventh hour Shah withdrew from the election leaving Qamar as the sole PPP candidate.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) fielded Rashid (33) as its nominee. Jamaat-e-Islami fielded Tariqullah as their candidate for the new prime minister.
The PML-N party holds 188 seats in the 342-member Parliament