Shebaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, is set to run against former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was nominated by Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
But ahead of Monday afternoon’s vote, all of Khan’s lawmakers, including Qureshi, resigned en masse in protest. The sheriff received 174 votes out of 342 in parliament.
The appointment of Shebaz Sharif comes in the wake of widespread protests in support of Khan across Pakistan late on Sunday. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in major cities, including Lahore and Peshawar, to support the ousted leader. They raised slogans against the United States – which Khan said conspired against him – and the country’s powerful military, which seemed to be withdrawing its support for him.
Against this backdrop of political turmoil and a shattered economy, Shebaz Sharif is now facing a challenging period as head of state.
He was commended for his ambitious administrative and infrastructure projects in the province that have made progress in education and industry.
Shebaz Sharif has been instrumental in operating the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan economic corridor as part of China’s Belt and Road initiative and maintains a positive relationship with Beijing.
Shebaz Sharif rejected the verdict, saying it was “flawed” and “politically motivated”. Shebaz Sharif is also facing corruption charges.
In recent months, Shebaz Sharif has spearheaded a campaign to oust Khan from the presidency of Pakistan over allegations of economic mismanagement and mismanagement. He called on Khan to resign in the run-up to the widely-anticipated no-confidence vote that would lead to his ouster, along with the opposition.
Khan has repeatedly rejected criticism, saying the moves against him were an attempt at regime change with the support of Washington and some members of the opposition, and tensions persisted for days. The US State Department and Pakistan’s opposition have denied the allegations.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament blocked a no-confidence vote against Khan. Khan later dissolved parliament and called for early elections. Opposition parties have challenged Khan’s move in Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
The court ruled last week that blocking a no-confidence vote against Khan was unconstitutional, paving the way for Shebaz Sharif to come to power.
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