Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has been elected the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar announced the name of the Leader of the House after vote count.
Imran Khan secured 176 votes while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Shehbaz Sharif bagged 96 votes in the polling for the Leader of the House in in the 342-seat National Assembly on Friday. Khan needed a simple majority of 172 to take power.
Pakistan People’s Party, who was part of joint opposition showing reservations on the candidature of Shehbaz Sharif, abstained from voting process.
Members of PTI and its allied parties greeted victory of Imran Khan with thumping of desks when Speaker Asad Qaiser declared the result.
Attired in white Shalwar Qamiz, the skipper sat in the front row of seats in the lower house of the parliament. Imran Khan will take oath as Prime Minister on Saturday.
The PTI, which emerged as the leading party in the July 25 general election, has 151 seats, and with the support of its allies, the total stands at 175 which was more than the required simple majority.
The New York Times reports that crucially, Mr. Khan, who is seen to have come to power with the military’s support, bucked expectations by taking a conciliatory tone on global and regional policy. He spoke about working on the relationship with the United States, pursuing dialogue with India and helping usher in peace in Afghanistan.
Mr. Khan takes great pride in his Pashtun ethnic identity. His family traces its roots to Waziristan, on the troubled border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. His view of the conflict in Afghanistan has been colored by a sense that the mostly Pashtun Taliban have waged a war of resistance against outsider rulers. It informed perceptions among liberals in Pakistan and the West, and some critics unfairly took to calling him “Taliban Khan.”
He will argue for a peace process and a settlement in Afghanistan, which include the Afghan Taliban. The stars favor his position as both President Trump and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan seem to have come around to the same position and support direct talks with the Taliban.
The challenge for Pakistan’s new prime minister will be to manage expectations in the three countries. Pakistan may not have the clout to get the Taliban to the negotiating table, despite the United States seeing them as Pakistani proxies.