Shehbaz Sharif Elected To Become Pakistan’s PM For Second Time

Mumbai: Shehbaz Sharif was on Sunday elected to become Pakistan’s Prime Minister for the second time in a vote by the country’s newly formed parliament. The 72-year-old will lead a coalition government of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Shehbaz Sharif is the younger brother of three-time PM Nawaz Sharif.

“Shehbaz Sharif is declared to have been elected the prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said, after announcing Sharif had secured 201 votes, above the required 169 votes in the house.

With 92 votes, he defeated Omar Ayub, the contender supported by imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan. The Khan-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) party loudly protested the declaration. The MPs chanted chants claiming Sharif had won election rigging and demanded Khan’s release.  

A mobile internet outage, arrests, and violence throughout the polling process on February 8th disrupted the election, and the noticeably delayed results led to claims that the vote was manipulated. Sharif resumed his position, which he held until August when a caretaker government was established in place after parliament was dissolved in advance of the elections. No one party took home the majority.

Sharif, 72, is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, the three-time prime minister who led the election campaign for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.  

Khan-backed candidates won the most seats, but Shehbaz Sharif became prime minister after his brother resigned, thanks to the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party’s agreement to establish a coalition government.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal, which Sharif’s government successfully negotiated during his previous term, was beset by difficulties. The agreement’s requirements, which are set to expire in April, have resulted in price increases and increased strain on lower-class and middle-class households.  

The next accord to support the nation’s economy and address growing dissatisfaction over the country’s increasing poverty will need the new government to begin negotiations with the IMF right away. The administration will also need to deal with persistent objections from Khan’s followers.

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