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Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif officially nominates 'best choice' brother Shehbaz for PM

Nawaz said the upcoming coalition government will prioritise on fixing the economy of the cash-strapped Pakistan and remained hopeful that all members complete their five-year tenure. He asserted that Shehbaz Sharif was the best choice under the current circumstances.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Published on: February 28, 2024 21:13 IST
Pakistan elections, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif
Image Source : AP (FILE) Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif

Islamabad: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday officially nominated his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif for the Prime Minister's position, saying he is the "best choice" for the post and the priority of the upcoming six-party coalition government would be to "fix" Pakistan's beleaguered economy. The nomination was filed at the parliamentary members' meeting of the PML-N in Islamabad with Nawaz in the chair.

“Nawaz officially nominated his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif and party loyalist Sardar Ayaz Sadiq for the posts of prime minister and speaker of the National Assembly. The parliamentary party endorsed Shehbaz’s name and also reposed its full confidence in the leadership of Nawaz,” PML-N central deputy secretary Attaullah Tarar said in a statement after the meeting.

Shehbaz had led a coalition government till August 2023 after the ouster of jailed cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan before a caretaker government took over following the announcement of general elections. His nomination for the PM post came as a surprise for many within and outside the party as Nawaz was expected to return to the role after coming back to Pakistan from a four-year exile and managing to get prior convictions removed.

The government will prioritise economy: Nawaz

The PML-N supremo said the next government would try to fix the economy "which would in turn fix everything" as he arrived at the Parliament House for the first time since the February 8 elections. Nawaz said he wishes every National Assembly, Senate and Prime Minister to complete their constitutional term.

No prime minister in coup-prone Pakistan has completed his/her five-year term. Sharif became prime minister thrice but was removed on all three occasions in mid-term. "I believe the next 1.5 or 2 years will be difficult but we have to stay united [during the difficult times] and face our opponents," he said while addressing the parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday.

The three-time former premier said Pakistan is "badly injured"  and the difficult decisions were the need of the hour to resolve the country's problems. He also praised his younger brother and said that "in the current circumstances, Shehbaz Sharif is the best choice", according to Geo News.

Meanwhile, PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq will contest the election for the National Assembly speaker, announced the three-time ex-CM. His daughter Maryam Nawaz recently became the first woman Chief Minister of Punjab province. 

Pakistan has avoided potential default with the help of international donors and friendly countries but its economy is still under clouds. It is believed that another IMF program would be needed after the ongoing package. The country's economy has been in a free fall mode for the last many years, bringing untold pressure on the poor masses in the form of unchecked inflation.

Members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan assemblies take oath

Meanwhile, newly elected members of the Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa and Balochistan provincial assemblies were sworn in on Wednesday. In KP, around 115 newly elected representatives took oath in a session marred by ruckus due to riots and protests by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and party-backed lawmakers, now members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

The members who were sworn in included 87 PTI-backed SIC lawmakers, nine members from JUI-F, eight from PML-N, five from PPP, two from PTI-Parliamentarians and four independents, Dawn reported. PTI’s nominee for KP chief minister, Ali Amin Gandapur, was among the several MPAs who were sworn in during the session.

The session of the Balochistan Assembly, summoned by Governor Malik Abdul Wali Khan Kakar, commenced at 3 pm. Ahead of the meeting, special security arrangements in and around the assembly building were made. Around 57 newly elected lawmakers of the Balochistan Assembly were sworn in today.

Imran Khan's PTI announces protests over rigging

The PTI has decided to take to the streets again on March 1 to protest against the alleged theft of its mandate, urging all democratic forces to join hands with the former ruling party to “strengthen democracy” in the country. Imran's party-backed candidates win 93 National Assembly seats but seem unlikely to form the government despite most of them joining the SIC.

The PTI has alleged that its 90 National Assembly and over 100 Punjab Assembly seats have been stolen by the establishment and distributed among the PMLN, MQM-P and PPP to form the "fake governments". The PTI has called them “mandate thieves” saying according to the original manual result of Form 45, it has won 180 NA and 220 PA seats.

(with PTI inputs)

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