Islamabad : Imran Khan was sworn in as Pakistan’s new prime minister on Saturday, officially taking over the charge of power in the corruption-affected country nearly 22 years after the former cricket hero entered politics to transform the corruption-affected country into an Islamic welfare state.
Khan, 65, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was administered the oath of office as the 22nd Prime Minister by President Mamnoon Hussain at a simple ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad.
The ceremony, which was scheduled to begin at 9.30am, started 40-minute late. It commenced with the national anthem, followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Clad in a traditional greyish black sherwani, a tearful Khan was seen little nervous.
Cricketer-turned-politician vows to turn graft-hit nation into Islamic welfare state
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja, former paceman Wasim Akram graced the occasion.
Khan, who famously captained the national cricket team to World Cup glory in 1992, had also invited some of his former teammates to witness his formal ascension to the top ministerial job in the country.
Khan’s third wife Bushra Maneka was also present. She was clad in off-white dress fully covering her. Only her eyes were visible. Bushra, also Khan’s spiritual guide, kept her eyes downwards during the ceremony.
After taking the oath, Khan and First Lady Bushra greeted guests. Later, Khan was presented a guard of honour at Prime Minister House.
Khan’s oath ceremony marks the end of decades of rotating leadership between the PML-N and PPP — the two main political parties that dominated Pakistan’s political scene when the powerful Army was in rule.
Khan, who described Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah as his hero, has promised to transform corruption affected Pakistan into an Islamic Welfare state.
The Oxford-educated Pasthun on Friday defeated his only rival and PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif in a one-sided election for the top post in the National Assembly. Khan secured 176 votes while Sharif got 96 votes. A total of 172 votes in the 342-member Lower House of Parliament are needed to form a government.
In his first address to Parliament, Khan had vowed to act against those who looted Pakistan. “I promise my nation today we will bring the tabdeeli (change) that this nation was starving for,” Khan said. “We have to hold strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them,” he vowed.
Britain’s help sought to battle money laundering
Notably, after the trust vote, Khan got a congratulatory phone call from British PM Theresa May, saying her government was ready to improve Britain’s relations with Pakistan. “We are ready to open new avenues of partnership with Pakistan,” she said. “We will fully assist the new government.”
Thanking May for her call, Khan told her he hopes to work with the British government to root out the menace of money laundering. “Money laundering is a severe problem for developing countries,” he said. “To stop this we want to work with foreign governments, especially Britain’s,” Khan said.
Shahbaz Sharif to be leader of Oppn
PML-Nawaz chief Shahbaz Sharif is set to become the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly as 111 lawmakers have nominated him for the slot, a media report said. The leader of the Opposition will be notified on Monday.
Dr Arif Alvi is PTI’s Presidential candidate
PM Imran Khan’s PTI said it has nominated party’s veteran lawmaker Dr Arif Alvi as its candidate for the President of Pakistan.
EC had announced on Thursday the presidential poll will be held on September 4, five days before the expiry of the 5-year term of President Mamnoon Hussain.
A dentist by profession, 69-year-old Alvi is one of the PTI’s founding members. He served was the secretary general from 2006 to 2013. He won the National Assembly polls from Karachi.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Cabinet Secretariat issued notices denotifying caretaker PM Nasirul Mulk and his Cabinet, hours after Imran took oath, the Dawn said.
Prime Minister fumbles in Urdu
Islamabad: Imran Khan stumbled over some of the Urdu words and wrongly pronounced them while taking oath as Prime Minister.
When President Hussain said the words “Roz-e-Qiyaamat” (the day of Judgment), Khan did not hear the exact phrase and called out the words wrongly terming them as “Roz-e-Qiyaadat” (the day of leadership) hence completely changing the meaning of the sentence.
Once corrected by the President, Khan realised his mistake, smiled subtly, said “sorry” and continued with his oath taking. Some Pakistani journalists even wondered if the PM’s oath has changed from past years, The News reported.
Salman Masood, The NYT correspondent, said the oath taking ceremony should have been rehearsed.