Pakistan Parliament on Monday elected unopposed Shehbaz Sharif as 23rd prime minister of the country, bringing to an end the political uncertainty that had gripped the nation since a no-confidence motion was introduced against his predecessor Imran Khan on March 8.
Shehbaz, 70, was the only candidate left in the race after former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will boycott the voting and staged a walkout.
"Sharif has secured 174 votes and has been declared as prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan," according to the formal result announced by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.
Shehbaz is the younger brother of former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam got emotional after her uncle Shehbaz became Pakistan's PM. In a video going viral on social media, an emotional Maryam was seen embracing her uncle.
Soon after he was elected as Pakistan's Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif in his inaugural speech raised the issue of abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and alleged that the people in the Valley were "bleeding" and Pakistan will provide them with "diplomatic and moral support" besides raising the matter at every international fora.
"When the forceful encroachment was done in August 2019 and Article 370 was abrogated, what serious efforts did we make...what serious diplomacy did we try...Kashmiris' blood is flowing on roads of Kashmir and the Kashmir Valley is red with their blood," said Shehbaz, the younger brother of former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
He expressed a desire for better ties but with India linked it with the Kashmir issue.
"We want good ties with India but durable peace is not possible until the Kashmir dispute is resolved," he said, adding that Pakistan would continue to provide political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir.
"We will raise voice for Kashmiris brothers and sisters at every forum, diplomatic efforts will be made, they will be provided diplomatic support, we will give them moral support," he added.
Shehbaz also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come forward to address the Kashmir issue so that the two countries could concentrate on tackling poverty, unemployment, shortage of medicines and other issues on the two sides of the border.
(With PTI inputs)