Work ahead is 'difficult' but not 'impossible', says PM Shehbaz in victory speech amid opposition protest

The National Assembly on Sunday elected Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz's Shehbaz Sharif as the 24th elected prime minister of the country in a session hit by the ruckus created by Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has been elected prime minister with 201 votes. [While] Omar Ayub obtained 92 votes," announced Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

The speaker then invited Shehbaz to sit in the prime minister's seat and invited him to address the house.

As soon as the result was announced the SIC lawmakers started causing a commotion and chanted slogans to disrupt the Shehabz's speech.

Shehbaz's victory was expected as he enjoyed the support of seven other parties apart from the PML-N. The PM-elect has the support of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Pakistan Muslim League-Zia (PML-Z), Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) and National Party (NP).

Making his maiden speech as the country’s 24th prime minister, Shehbaz — surrounded by party lawmakers — thanked PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for nominating him for the coveted post, and expressed gratitude to his allies including PPP and the MQM-P and others for supporting him.

Taking the opportunity to highlight the country’s history of political turmoil, the prime minister-elect lamented the “judicial murder” of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and paid homage to his daughter and ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto for paying the ultimate price for democracy.

Without taking any names, Shehbaz took a jibe at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for hounding the opposition when it was in power, going against the country’s national interests while resorting to levelling serious allegations against the armed forces.

“This is the difference between the [two] leaderships. The House is witness that the [PML-N] has never even thought of indulging in politics of vengeance," said PM-elect Shehbaz.

Elaborating on his government’s plans to steer the country out of the prevailing crises, Shehbaz said that people from all walks of life have to come together to change the country’s destiny and overcome the challenges.

Addressing the economic crunch faced by the country, the PML-N leader highlighted that out of the Rs12,300 billion generated by the country, Rs7,300 billion is given to the provinces under the National Finance Commission award and the government faces a whopping Rs7000 billion deficit due to services charges worth up to Rs8,000 billion.

“Where will the money come for development, health and education sectors? From where will the armed forces’ government employees’ salaries be paid?”

“All this is being afforded via loans throughout the years [...] This is the biggest challenge faced by the country today,” he noted.

PM Shehbaz Sharif announced that Pakistan’s brotherly countries will be provided visa-free entry into Pakistan, expressing confidence that the move would increase trade in the country.

He added that his government would work hard and set a goal to become a member of G20 countries by 2030.

He further promised to bring investment into the country and create economic conditions that would spur economic growth.

He also vowed to spread the web of “one window” export zones in all four provinces and work day and night to fulfil all these promises.

In his victory speech the PM said harassment of women anywhere was unacceptable. Shehbaz also said that women will be provided with equal job opportunities and renumeration during his tenure. He lauded Lahore ASP Shehr Bano Naqvi for protecting the live of a woman clad in an Arabic print shirt from a mob attack.

Kakar to welcome Shehbaz at PM House

Official sources said Caretaker PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar would welcome the new premier on his arrival at the Prime Minister’s House. 

Kakar has vacated the PM House, but he will continue to perform his duties as premier till the issuance of notification of the new chief executive of the country. He has been allotted a house in the Minister's Enclave.

Kakar remained the caretaker PM for the longest period of 200 days. The previous record was held by Muhammad Mian Soomro, who remained the caretaker PM from March 25, 2013 to June 4, 2013.

This is a developing story

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