ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan on Saturday, sounding what many analysts say is the death knell for old-style dynastic politics.
“I did not climb on any dictator’s shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years,” Khan said in a fiery speech as he was elected prime minister in a vote at the National Assembly on Friday, three weeks after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won a general election.
Throughout his political career, Khan has branded himself as a populist alternative to Pakistan’s elite, and said dynastic, corrupt leaders have enriched themselves while Pakistanis have grown poorer.
The oath-taking ceremony was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr (President House), where President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath from the newly elected premier.
The ceremony was attended by the outgoing caretaker Prime Minister, retired Justice Nasirul Mulk; chiefs of the Pakistan armed forces; members of the outgoing caretaker federal cabinet; prominent political personalities; and leaders of Khan’s party and foreign diplomats.
Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu was among the guests of Imran Khan on this occasion.
On Friday, 176 members of the National Assembly voted in favor of Imran Khan, while his opponent, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif, received 96 votes.
Khan attended Saturday’s oath-taking ceremony dressed in a traditional black sherwani (long coat) and white trousers.
He appeared happy but his body language also revealed some nerves just moments before he took over what has been called one of the toughest jobs in the world.
“Imagine, in 2002 he had one seat in Parliament, and today he is the prime minister of Pakistan. At the end of his biography he writes that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is an idea. Today, it has become a reality,” political analyst Mazhar Abbas told Arab News.
Aides to the new prime minister say he is ready to take on the overwhelming challenges of government, including raising many Pakistanis out of poverty.