ISLAMABAD Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was elected Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister on Friday, marking the pinnacle of his 22-year-long political career.
Khan clinched victory with 176 seats while his opponent, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, secured 96 votes in the polling that took place in the National Assembly today.
As the newly elected speaker of the assembly, Asad Qaiser, announced the results, the House erupted with chants of “na manzoor” [unacceptable] and “Wazir-i-azam Nawaz Sharif” [PM Nawaz Sharif]. The protests by PML-N leaders continued nearly all the way through the session despite the speaker’s attempts at restoring order in the House.
PML-N lawmakers protest after announcement of results. ? DawnNewsTV
Khan, in the meantime, sat smiling in his seat, accepting congratulations from his party members.
The speaker had suspended the proceedings of the National Assembly for 15 minutes after the crucial announcement due to the persistent sloganeering of PML-N legislators. Announcing the suspension of proceedings, Assembly Speaker Qaiser asked parliamentary leaders to come to his chamber.
When the session resumed, the speaker asked the PM-elect to address the House as protests by PML-N and cheering by PTI continued.
‘Only Jinnah struggled more than I did’
Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan, in his first speech following his victory, promised “the change that this nation is starving for”.
“We have to have strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them,” he asserted.
“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.”
“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,” said a charged Khan, moving on to address allegations of election rigging.
“I want to ask the people who are yelling here why they didn’t investigate the four constituencies that I asked for.
“Why didn’t they investigate then? Why didn’t they hold people accountable? Why didn’t the [PML-N] government take action?”
“When I was asking for investigation, these people accused me of being a planted by the establishment,” Khan continued.
“We [government] will cooperate with you [PML-N] even if you want to take your complaints to the Supreme Court. You can make as much noise as you want or even hold a dharna we will provide you the container and food for it.”
Khan’s oath-taking ceremony will take place tomorrow.
The former cricketer was tipped as the ‘PM-in-waiting’ soon after the July 25 polls in which PTI won more seats than other political parties.
‘We will hold you accountable’
A visibly disconcerted Shahbaz Sharif then took the microphone, focusing primarily on the allegations of rigging in the July 25 polls.
“Throughout the world, newspapers and outlets are raising accusations of rigging in the general elections,” he said.
“This is the worst election in history in terms of rigging; the authorities must act against those responsible.”
“What kind of election was this?” he questioned amidst loud chants echoing across the hall.
“The Result Transmission System (RTS) [on the night of July 25] was forcefully shut down. What kind of elections were these that the results were delayed for 48 hours?”
Alleging that 1.6 million votes were rejected, he questioned the discovery of ballot papers from gutters and streets across the country.
The former Punjab chief minister urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to “submit a report before this House” adding that “the clauses that need amendment in the Election Act 2017 must be amended so no one can rob the vote of its sanctity”.
He threatened that opposition parties would “take to the streets” if a commission was not formed and justice not served.
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