ISLAMABAD: Shehbaz Sharif, the frontrunner as Pakistan’s next prime minister, vowed on Sunday to uphold the constitution and ensure the rule of law in Pakistan as the country’s parliament elected Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressing his lack of self-confidence.
Khan dodged a vote of no confidence and dissolved parliament last Sunday, but the country’s highest court ruled the measures “unconstitutional” and reinstated the National Assembly.
The former cricketer-turned-politician was finally voted out late last night in a much-delayed parliamentary session. In the lower house of parliament, which has 342 members, 174 lawmakers voted in favor of the no-confidence motion against him.
“Now, once again, the Pakistan of law and constitution has been born,” Shehbaz, brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said in a speech after the vote. “We want to move forward and make Pakistan great again.”
Shehbaz, the chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, has been unofficially nominated by the opposition to be its candidate for the next prime minister.
“We will not be revengeful. We will not do injustice to anyone,” the prime minister’s hope was quoted by state news agency APP as saying. “We won’t put innocent people in jail, but the law will take its course.”
He said he didn’t want to be stuck in the bitterness of the past and instead wanted to move forward and make the country a great nation.
Pakistan’s parliament is due to meet on Monday to vote for the new prime minister.
Candidates for the post of prime minister can submit their candidacy documents before 11:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Sunday, said Ayaz Sadiq, who chaired the assembly session in the absence of members of the ruling party and its designated speakers.
Under the rules, parliament can continue to function until the end of its five-year term in August 2023, after which general elections must be held within 60 days.
The new Prime Minister can also immediately call a general election without having to wait until 2023.
Khan lost his parliamentary majority in recent days after lawmakers defected from his own party as well as his coalition partners.
The opposition blamed him for the country’s economic difficulties, foreign policy failures and poor governance.