Shehbaz Sharif: Pakistani parliament votes for new prime minister after Imran Khan’s ouster

Sharif, the former chief minister of the Punjab province and younger brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, will serve as prime minister until the next general election, expected to take place in 2023.

Shehbaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, was supposed to oppose former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, who was nominated by Khan’s political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

But on the Monday afternoon ahead of the vote, all of Khan’s legislators, including Qureshi, resigned en masse to protest the proceedings. Sharif received 174 out of 342 votes in parliament.

Shahbaz Sharif’s appointment comes after massive protests in support of Khan broke out in Pakistan late Sunday night. Tens of thousands took to the streets in key cities including Lahore and Peshawar to support the ousted leader. They shouted slogans against the United States, which Khan claimed was involved in a conspiracy against him, and the country’s powerful military, which seemed to have lost his support.

Against this background of political unrest and a collapsing economy, Shehbaz Sharif is now facing a difficult period as the country’s leader.

Unlike Khan, Shehbaz Sharif maintained friendly relations with the military and was a popular chief minister of the politically important and most populous Pakistani province of Punjab.

He has been praised for his ambitious administrative and infrastructure projects in the province, which have led to progress in the educational and industrial sectors.

Shehbaz Sharif has been instrumental in establishing the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and maintains a positive relationship with Beijing.

A member of the wealthy Sharif dynasty that amassed millions in steel production, his family was mired in scandal after his brother Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10.5 million on corruption charges in 2018.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ousted as leader after vote of no confidence

Shehbaz Sharif rejected the verdict, calling it “incorrect” and “politically motivated.” Shehbaz Sharif has also been charged with alleged corruption.

In recent months, Shehbaz Sharif has led a campaign to remove Khan from Pakistan’s leadership amid accusations of economic mismanagement and mismanagement. Along with the opposition, he urged Khan to step down ahead of a vote of no confidence that many expected would result in Khan’s dismissal.

Tensions smoldered for days, with Khan repeatedly dismissing the criticism and instead claiming that the actions against him were an attempt at regime change backed by Washington and some members of the opposition. The allegations were denied by both the US State Department and the Pakistani opposition.

In a series of dramatic events, the Vice Speaker of Parliament blocked a vote of no confidence in Khan. Khan then dissolved parliament and called for early elections. The opposition challenged Khan’s actions in Pakistan’s highest court, with Shehbaz Sharif calling them “nothing less than high treason.”

Last week, a court ruled that blocking a vote of no confidence in Khan was unconstitutional and paved the way for Shahbaz Sharif’s rise to power.

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