Pakistani lawmakers elect Imran Khan as PM

Saturday, August 18, 2018

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan was chosen yesterday as Pakistan's next prime minister, elected on a promise to reform a system rife with corruption and traditionally controlled by the country's powerful landowners.

In the vote by lawmakers at the National Assembly, Khan secured 176 votes, defeating the opposition's candidate, Shahbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League party, who got 96 votes.

Khan's populist Tehrik-e-Insaf party won the most seats in the July 25 elections but fell short of securing a majority in the 342-seat house. He is to be sworn in as prime minister today.

Khan's supporters celebrated across the country when Speaker Asad Qaiser announced the result.

In his first speech to lawmakers as premier, Khan dismissed allegations of election fraud and vowed to enforce “ruthless accountability” to combat corruption.

A graduate of Oxford University, Khan formed his party in 1996 in the eastern city of Lahore, vowing to forge a corruption-free “new Pakistan” with justice for all without discrimination.

He challenged the parties of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Asif Ali Zardari over the past two decades, but was not able to make a strong showing until 2013 when his became the third-largest party in the lower house of parliament. He was finally able to triumph over his opponents in last month's vote.

Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from contesting the election last year by the Supreme Court for concealing assets abroad. He is currently serving a 10-year jail term in a corruption case involving the purchase of luxury apartments in London. Opposition candidate Shahbaz Sharif is his younger brother.

Addressing lawmakers, the younger Sharif insisted that last month's elections were manipulated in Khan's favour. Sharif and his supporters chanted slogans against Khan during his speech, claiming he was brought to power by the military.

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