Imran Khan elected prime minister of Pakistan

Pakistan's newly appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses lawmakers after being elected by National Assembly members in Islamabad on August 17, 2018. (AFP / Handout photo)
Updated 17 August 2018
0

Imran Khan elected prime minister of Pakistan

  • Khan received 176 votes in the 342-seat National Assembly; Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), garnered 96 votes
  • Pakistan People’s Party with 54 seats backed out of supporting opposition's candidate Shabaz sharif , weakening the position of the PML-N, which has 81 seats

ISLAMABAD: Members of Pakistan’s freshly elected national assembly voted in favor of Imran Khan to take the country’s most powerful position as its new Prime Minister crushing his opponent Shahbaz Sharif on Friday.

Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) received an impressive 176 votes in the 342 seat lower house of parliament. His rival Sharif, younger brother of imprisoned ex-Premier Nawaz Sharif and president of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) received 96 votes.

The result announcement by the speaker of the house rattled lawmakers of PML-N sparking a loud protest against Khan’s victory as unacceptable repeatedly chanting “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif” who was judicially ousted from the premiership last year and is serving time in prison on corruption charges.

Meanwhile PTI lawmakers rejoiced and congratulated Khan who remained calm amid the strong protest by his rivals which continued despite requests by the speaker Asad Qaiser for silence forcing him to temporarily suspend the assembly session.

Amid unrest, the new Prime Minister addressed the national assembly members following resumption of the session by the speaker.

------

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Pakistan PM contender Imran Khan pledges stronger ties with Saudi Arabia

------

"I did not climb on any dictator's shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years. Only one leader struggled more than me, and that was my hero, Jinnah. Twice every month I will answer to the people during the question-answer session in the assembly", said Khan and vowed to bring promised change the country desires.

"We have to have strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them" and “the money that was laundered, I will bring it back — the money that should have gone towards health, education, and water, went into people's pockets" Khan pledged in continuation of his anti-corruption campaign.

He briefly centered his attention towards the protesting opposition and reminded them of their failure to address his concerns when he raised his voice against election rigging during the PML-N government following 2013 general elections.

Khan told the PML-N leadership that his government would cooperate with them if they chose to take rigging allegations to court and would provide food, water, and containers if they opted to stage demonstrations against his ruling coalition.  

The PTI won the July 25 election with 116 seats in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.

The party took in independent candidates and formed an alliance with other political parties, putting it above the threshold required for a majority in the assembly, said PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry.

Candidates backed by the PTI and its coalition partners won the key positions of the speaker and deputy speaker of the house on Wednesday, dealing another blow to the 11-party opposition alliance

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), with 54 seats backed out of supporting Sharif’s candidacy, weakening the position of the PML-N, which has 81 seats.

In response Sharif also reminded the new premier of his earlier commitment. "You had said that if rigging in 2013 elections would be proven, Nawaz Sharif's government should resign. We will not let you run from this. We will hold you accountable for stealing votes" firmly said Sharif and continued his diatribe over systematic election rigging hurling accusations.

The first time member of the national assembly, Bilawal Bhutto, the young Chairman of PPP maintained posture and decorum during the session. He challenged Khan on his words to the nation and said, "our prime minister-elect has promised a 100-day roadmap. I want to see how he creates 10 million jobs, ends poverty" and asked the new premier “what his plan will be to deal with the economic crisis" which the new government is likely to seek a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund, a door Khan had vowed not to knock for help regardless.


Venezuela ‘on alert,’ closes Curacao border ahead of aid shipment

Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez attends a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, February 19, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 February 2019
0

Venezuela ‘on alert,’ closes Curacao border ahead of aid shipment

  • Despite sitting on the world’s biggest oil reserves, Venezuela is gripped by a humanitarian crisis, with a shortage of food and medicine

CARACAS: Venezuela’s military said Tuesday it was on “alert” at its frontiers following threats by US President Donald Trump and ordered its border with Curacao closed ahead of a planned aid shipment.
Opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido vowed to bring aid in from various points Saturday “one way or another” despite military efforts to block it.
But commanders doubled down on their allegiance to President Nicolas Maduro after Trump warned them to abandon him.
“The armed forces will remain deployed and on alert along the borders... to avoid any violations of territorial integrity,” said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
Regional commander Vladimir Quintero later confirmed media reports that Venezuela had ordered the suspension of air and sea links with Curacao and the neighboring Netherlands Antilles islands of Aruba and Bonaire.
Shipments of food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering in the country’s economic crisis have become a focus of the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido.
Aid is being stored in Colombia near the Venezuelan border and Guaido aims also to bring in consignments via Brazil and Curacao.
A Brazilian presidential spokesman said the country was cooperating with the United States to supply aid to Venezuela but would leave it to Venezuelans to take the goods over the border.
Maduro says the aid plan is a smokescreen for a US invasion. He blames US sanctions and “economic war” for Venezuela’s crisis.

Guaido, the 35-year-old leader of the Venezuelan legislature, has appealed to military leaders to switch allegiance to him and let the aid through.
He has offered military commanders an amnesty if they abandon Maduro.
But the military high command has so far maintained its public backing for Maduro — seen as key to keeping him in power.
“We reiterate unrestrictedly our obedience, subordination and loyalty” to Maduro, Padrino said.
Guaido posted a series of tweets calling by name on senior military leaders commanding border posts to abandon Maduro.
He has branded Maduro illegitimate, saying the elections that returned the socialist leader to power last year were fixed.
The United States and some 50 other countries back Guaido as interim president.
Trump has refused to rule out US military action in Venezuela. He raised the pressure on Monday, issuing a warning to the Venezuelan military.
He told them that if they continue to support Maduro, “you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything.”
Padrino rejected Trump’s threat, branding the US president “arrogant.”
If foreign powers try to help install a new government by force, they will have to do so “over our dead bodies,” Padrino said.

Despite sitting on the world’s biggest oil reserves, Venezuela is gripped by a humanitarian crisis, with a shortage of food and medicine.
It has suffered four years of recession marked by hyperinflation that the International Monetary Fund says will reach 10 million percent this year.
An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015.
Guaido says 300,000 people face death without the aid but Maduro denies there is a humanitarian crisis.
Padrino said the military would not be “blackmailed” by “a pack of lies and manipulations.”
Maduro said that 300 tons of Russian aid would reach Venezuela on Wednesday. He previously announced the arrival of goods from China, Cuba and Russia, his main international allies.
In a series of tweets, Guaido urged supporters to write to the generals “from the heart, with arguments, without violence, without insults,” to win them over.

Guaido says he has enlisted the support of 700,000 people to help bring in the aid on Saturday and is aiming for a million in total.
He thanked Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain for pledging “more than $18 million for the humanitarian aid.”
British entrepreneur Richard Branson said he will hold a pro-aid concert just over the border in Colombia on Friday.
British rock star Peter Gabriel and Colombian pop singer Carlos Vives are among those scheduled to perform.
Former Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters weighed in on Maduro’s side in a video broadcast on Venezuelan state media, criticizing Branson and Gabriel and said the aid was being politicized.
Maduro’s government plans to stage a rival concert on its side of the border.