Shehbaz Sharif Secures Second Term as Pakistan PM Amid Controversial Election Fallout

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 1:24 pm

Islamabad, March 4, 2024 – In the wake of a tumultuous electoral process marred by allegations of rigging, Shehbaz Sharif has been elected as Pakistan’s Prime Minister for a second term. The National Assembly convened on Sunday to finalize the appointment, where Shehbaz secured 201 votes out of the 336-member assembly.

The February 8 elections were shrouded in controversy, with accusations of widespread rigging and delayed results casting a shadow over the democratic process. The opposition, led by Omar Ayub Khan, alleged foul play, echoing concerns of electoral misconduct.

Shehbaz Sharif, 72, a three-time Prime Minister’s younger brother, overcame the challenge posed by Omar Ayub Khan, securing a comfortable victory with 201 votes against Khan’s 92. The need for at least 169 votes to win was surpassed, solidifying Sharif’s position.

Omar Ayub Khan, backed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), a political group formed by legislators from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, contested the elections after PTI was barred from participating due to alleged election law violations.

The PTI, which emerged as the largest group with 93 seats, contested the legitimacy of the election results, claiming their mandate was stolen. This has led to street protests by PTI supporters.

The National Assembly session on Sunday was marked by chaos as PTI-backed SIC legislators raised slogans accusing Shehbaz Sharif of attaining power through electoral malpractice. Despite the ruckus, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq officially declared Shehbaz Sharif as the elected Prime Minister.

In his victory speech, Shehbaz Sharif expressed gratitude to his elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, and allies for their support. He pledged to work towards political stability, emphasizing collaboration with all four provinces to address the nation’s challenges.

However, the leader of the opposition, Omar Ayub Khan, defended his incarcerated leader, Imran Khan, accusing Shehbaz Sharif of disregarding the law. Khan vowed resilience in the face of adversity, claiming the nation had rejected the charges of election misconduct.

As Pakistan grapples with a declining economy and deteriorating security conditions, Shehbaz Sharif’s second term begins against a backdrop of political instability, challenging the government’s resolve to address pressing national issues.

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