Monday, Nov 19, 2018 | Last Update : 07:04 PM IST

Imran Khan takes oath as Pakistan’s 22nd PM

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHAFQAT ALI
Published : Aug 19, 2018, 5:38 am IST
Updated : Aug 19, 2018, 5:40 am IST

A tearful Khan smiled as he stumbled over some of the words of the oath administered to him by President Hussain.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan
 Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan

Islamabad: In the presence of his veiled wife Bushra Maneka, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad on Saturday.

Mr Khan’s sons, Qasim Khan and Suleman Khan, skipped the event as instructed by the new premier. Mr Khan’s ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith revealed on Twitter that Mr Khan was “adamant” that his sons don’t attend his oath taking ceremony but did not say why. PTI sources said Mr Khan did not want to turn it into a family affair. Other said there could be family differences as third wife Bushra Maneka was present.

The event began with trumpeters of the Presidential Guards playing the arrival tune. Attired in a charcoal coloured sherwani and white shalwar, Mr Khan entered the hall along with President Mamnoon Hussain, caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk and went straight to the dais.

The national anthem was played and the Cabinet Secretary announced opening of the event.

A tearful Khan smiled as he stumbled over some of the words of the oath administered to him by President Hussain.

When Mr Hussain said the words “Roz-e-Qiyaamat” (the day of judgement), Mr Khan did not hear the exact phrase and said “Roz-e-Qiyaadat” (the day of leadership) instead. When corrected by the President, Mr Khan smiled, said “sorry” and continued.

As he swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan” and to discharge his duties and perform functions honestly, “always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan,” life for 65-year-old Khan, who launched his party and political career in 1996, seemed to have come a full circle.

The ceremony at the President House marked the end of decades of rotation of leadership between the ousted Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), punctuated by periods of Army rule.
 
After the ceremony, Mr Khan proceeded to the Prime Minister’s House, where he was presented a guard of honour and introduced to the staff.
 
Since his election victory, Mr Khan made several claims about where he will stay after formally taking charge as the PM. His first preference was his colonial-style, five-bedroom private residence known as Bani Gala, then the Punjab House — an official building, and finally, the Prime Minister’s House, a lavish, white marble building on a hilltop overlooking Islamabad.
In the PM House Colony, he has chosen to stay at the military secretary’s house as a face-saver. Mr Khan’s supporters were fed up with his daily U-turns on a non-issue, and so was the media.

Mr Khan and First Lady Bushra Maneka greeted the guests after the oath was administered. It was her first public appearance since their wedding earlier this year, and she was escorted by tight security and covered from head to toe in a white niqab (veil).

Keeping in view Mr Khan’s desire for austerity, the guests were offered just tea and biscuits instead of the nine-course meal traditionally served after the oath-taking ceremony at the President’s House.

Guests who attended the ceremony included caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.
 
Other notable guests at the President’s House included senior PTI leaders, former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu, cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja, legendary paceman Wasim Akram, newly elected Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, singers Salman Ahmed and Abrarul Haq, actor Javaid Sheikh and former National Assembly speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza.
 
Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar were invited but they declined due to prior engagements. Navtoj Singh Sidhu attended the oath taking ceremony.
 
Mr Khan was elected Pakistan’s Prime Minister by the Parliament after his party swept the general election last month, marking the beginning of PTI’s tenure.
 
Mr Khan campaigned on promises to end widespread graft while building an “Islamic welfare state”. “I promise to my Allah that everyone who looted this country will be made accountable,” he said in Friday’s speech to Parliament.
 
He also defended himself against widespread claims that the military had targeted PML-N, especially its leader Nawaz Sharif, and fixed the playing field in Mr Khan’s favour.
 
“I am here after 22 years of struggle. No dictator has taken care of me. I am standing here in this Parliament on my own feet,” he told the raucous Assembly as Opposition members shouted protest slogans.
 
No Prime Minister of Pakistan has ever completed a full five-year term. Mr Khan will have to contend with the same issue as many predecessors: how to maintain the balance of power in civil-military relations.
 
Meanwhile, PTI-backed, Jam Mir Kamal Khan Alyani of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was elected chief minister of Balochistan on Saturday.
 
Jam Kamal bagged 39 votes while Mir Younus Aziz Zehri of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) received 20 in the secret ballot.

Tags: imran khan, president house