Pakistan’s Parliament elected opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League as the country’s newest prime minister on Monday. He was elected amid boycotting by Imran Khan’s party, which accuses him of conspiring with the US in advance of Sunday’s no-confidence vote.
His election comes after lawmakers in the National Assembly voted to remove predecessor Imran Khan from office over the weekend with 174 votes; two more than the required simple majority in Pakistan’s 342-seat lower chamber of Parliament. Sharif previously served as chief minister of Punjab, whose some 110 million residents make it Pakistan’s most populous province, from 1997-1999 and again from 2008-2018.
He is the younger brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was found guilty of concealing assets in 2017, when damning revelations emerged with the Panama Papers, and has led the Pakistan Muslim League since his brother’s conviction. The National Accountability Bureau frozen 23 properties owned by Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Sharif in 2019, accusing them both of money laundering. In 2020, he was charged with money laundering and was incarcerated until his trial. He will be released on bail in 2021.
Sharif’s candidacy was left uncontested when rival candidate and former Pakistani FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi, favored by Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Justice Party) former foreign minister, led a walkout and boycott of the election.
Back in March, Khan had accused political opponents of colluding with the US to undermine his authority, citing a briefing letter from Pakistan’s ambassador to the US which he says contained evidence that Washington believed his removal from power would bring about improvement in US-Pakistani relations.
“They say that ‘our anger will vanish if Imran Khan loses this no-confidence vote’,”The PM was moaned in a television address.
Ned Price, spokesperson for the US State Department, replied that there wasn’t. “no truth”Washington was accused of the accusations. “closely following developments in Pakistan”It is possible to do it! “respect[ed]Support[ed] Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law.”
Khan, a former cricket player who led the Pakistani team to victory at the World Cup in 1992, became the first prime minister in the country’s history to depart following Sunday’s vote of no confidence. Khan had refused to be replaced and vowed to continue resisting calls. “never quit no matter what the result may be”And moved to dissolve Parliament on April 3. The Supreme Court heard the appeals of his opponents and approved the vote.
As prime minister, Khan had maintained a fiercely independent foreign policy, arguing that Pakistan had suffered for previously supporting NATO’s military action in Afghanistan. Khan declared the following at a March rally “We are friends with Russia, and we are also friends with America; we are friends with China and with Europe; we are not in any camp.”On February 24, when Moscow began its military operations in Ukraine, he met Vladimir Putin of Russia to talk bilateral issues. A March 1st letter in which he urged Pakistan to accept a UN Resolution condemning Russia was later answered by him. “aggression against Ukraine”It slammed its signatories (which included diplomats from Australia, Canada and the EU) for treating Pakistanis as if they were their own. “slaves.”Pakistan was among 34 countries that abstained from voting.
Moscow insists the attack was intended for the purposes of the “demilitarization” “denazification”Ukraine and claimed that this was the best option to save the Ukrainian people after years of an arduous blockade that had resulted in thousands of deaths. Kiev claims the offensive was not provoked, claiming it did not intend to take the Lugansk and Donetsk republics.
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