Shahbaz Sharif picked as new Pakistan PM after week of drama


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s parliament elected opposition lawmaker Shahbaz Sharif as the brand new prime minister Monday, following every week of political turmoil that led to the weekend ouster of Premier Imran Khan.

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However the elevation of Sharif won’t assure a peaceable path ahead or remedy the nation’s many financial issues, together with excessive inflation and a hovering vitality disaster.

Sharif, the brother of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gained with 174 votes after greater than 100 lawmakers from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Pakistan Justice Celebration, resigned and walked out of the Nationwide Meeting in protest.

These 174 votes — two greater than the required easy majority — are sufficient to cross legal guidelines within the 342-seat meeting. If Khan’s followers take to the streets, as he has vowed, it might create extra strain on lawmakers and deepen the disaster.

In a present of power and a precursor to the political uncertainty forward, Khan rallied tons of of 1000’s of supporters Sunday evening to protest his ouster, describing the brand new management as an “imposed authorities,” charging they colluded with the U.S. to oust him. His backers marched in cities throughout Pakistan, waving massive social gathering flags and shouted slogans promising to return him to energy. The crowds had been dominated by youths who make up the spine of Khan’s supporters.

The political drama started April 3 when Khan sidestepped an preliminary no-confidence vote demanded by the opposition by dissolving parliament and calling early elections. The opposition, which accuses Khan of financial mismanagement, appealed to the Supreme Court docket. After 4 days of deliberations, the courtroom mentioned Khan’s transfer was unlawful and the no-confidence vote went forward, resulting in his ouster.

Khan has demanded early elections — the balloting will not be due earlier than August 2023. He has tapped into anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, accusing Washington of conspiring along with his opponents to topple him. That conspiracy principle resonates along with his youthful base, which regularly sees the U.S. battle on terrorism after 9/11 as unfairly concentrating on Pakistan.

Khan claims Washington opposes him due to his unbiased overseas coverage favoring China and Russia. He was criticized for a go to he made on Feb. 24 to Moscow, the place he met with President Vladimir Putin as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.

The U.S. State Division has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s inner politics.

The opposition coalition consists of events that cross the political divide, from the left to the radically non secular. The 2 largest events are the Pakistan Muslim League, headed by Sharif, and the Pakistan Folks’s Celebration, co-chaired by the son and husband of Benazir Bhutto, the previous prime minister who was killed in 2007.

Just a few rich and highly effective households have dominated Pakistan’s politics for many years, with energy most frequently alternating between the Sharif and the Bhutto camps. Each political homes have been accused of and at instances convicted of widespread corruption. They’ve dismissed the allegations as being politically motivated.

Nawaz Sharif was unseated by the Supreme Court docket in 2015 after being convicted of monetary irregularities revealed within the so-called Panama Papers — a group of leaked secret monetary paperwork displaying how among the world’s richest disguise their cash and involving a worldwide legislation agency primarily based in Panama. He was disqualified from holding workplace by the Supreme Court docket.

Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto’s husband who served as president of Pakistan after the 2008 election, has spent greater than seven years in jail, convicted on corruption fees.

Khan got here to energy in 2018, promising to interrupt the sample of household rule in Pakistan, however his opponents mentioned he was elected with assist from the highly effective navy, which has dominated the nation for half of its 75-year historical past.

Nawaz Sharif was additionally ousted in 1999, in a navy coup, and Benazir Bhutto’s authorities was ousted a number of instances after the navy sided along with her opposition. In Pakistani politics, the place loyalties are sometimes fluid, Bhutto’s fiercest opposition typically got here from Sharif’s social gathering.

Shahbaz Sharif has served 3 times as chief minister of Pakistan’s largest, most influential Punjab province, dwelling to 60% of the nation’s 220 million folks. His son, Hamza, was elected final week as the brand new chief minister by the Punjab provincial parliament, ousting Khan’s nominee. Khan’s social gathering is difficult that election, and the youthful Sharif has but to be sworn in.


Related Press author Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed.


Comply with Kathy Gannon on Twitter at


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