ISLAMABAD: Shehbaz Sharif, the frontrunner as the next Pakistani prime minister, on Sunday vowed to uphold the constitution and ensure the rule of law in Pakistan as the country's parliament voted PM Imran Khan out, expressing its lack of confidence in him.
Khan dodged a no-confidence vote and dissolved parliament last Sunday, but the country's top court ruled the steps were “unconstitutional” and reinstated the National Assembly.
The former cricket star-turned-politician was eventually voted out late last night during a much-delayed session of parliament. In the 342-member lower house of parliament, 174 lawmakers favored the no-trust motion against him.
“Now once again, the Pakistan of law and the constitution is born,” Shehbaz, brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said in a speech after the vote. “We want to move forward and make Pakistan great again.”
Shehbaz, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, has been informally nominated by the opposition to be its candidate for the next prime minister.
“We will not be revengeful. We will not do injustice to anyone,” the PM hopeful was quoted as saying by the state-run APP news agency. "We will not put the innocent people in jails, but the law will take its course."
He said he did not want to be stuck up in the bitterness of the past and rather wished to move forward and make the country a great nation.
The Pakistan parliament is scheduled to meet on Monday to vote for the new prime minister.
Candidates for the post of prime minister can file their nomination papers by 11am local time (0600 GMT) on Sunday, said Ayaz Sadiq, who presided over the assembly session in the absence of the ruling party members and its designated speakers.
As per rules, parliament can continue to function till the completion of its five-year tenure in August 2023, after which a general election is due within 60 days.
The new prime minister can also immediately call a general election without having to wait until 2023.
Khan lost his parliamentary majority in recent days after defections by lawmakers of his own party as well as his coalition partners.
The opposition blamed him for the economic woes, foreign policy failures and poor governance in the country.