Shehbaz Sharif secures second term as Pakistan’s Prime Minister

Pakistan’s newly formed parliament has elected Shehbaz Sharif for a second term as prime minister, ending weeks of uncertainty following the country’s recent national elections.

Sharif, who previously served as prime minister until August when parliament dissolved ahead of the elections, secured 201 votes, surpassing the required 169 in the house. He defeated Omar Ayub, the candidate supported by imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who garnered 92 votes.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq formally announced Sharif’s victory, stating, “Shehbaz Sharif is declared to have been elected the prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

However, the declaration was met with protests from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), backed by Khan. SIC lawmakers demanded Khan’s release and accused Sharif of electoral rigging.

In his speech following the announcement, Sharif emphasized the need for economic reforms and addressed international relations but refrained from outlining specific policy changes. He extended an invitation to the opposition for discussions on reconciling political and policy differences.

Throughout Sharif’s speech, SIC continued their protests, holding up posters of Khan and chanting “mandate thieves.”

The February 8 election was marred by a mobile internet shutdown, arrests, and violence during its build-up, leading to accusations of vote rigging. Sharif, 72, is the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and led their Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s election campaign.

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