Islamabad: Cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was on Friday elected as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, setting the stage for his oath-taking on Saturday.
Mr Khan secured 176 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament, just four more than the 172 votes needed to form a government.
Contesting against Mr Khan, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) president Shahbaz Sharif got 96 votes. The election for the top post became just a formality after the Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, with 54 seats abstained from voting following a rift over Mr Sharif’s candidature.
Mr Khan plans to keep the oath-taking event simple. Instead of an elaborate spread, the guests will be served with tea and biscuits, sources said.
Mr Khan’s government will be the third consecutive democratic government in Pakistan since 2008 when military ruler General Pervez Musharraf announced elections after serving as President from 2001 to 2008 following a bloodless coup in 1999.
Meanwhile, Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday arrived here en route to Islamabad to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his friend Imran Khan as Pakistan Prime Minister on Saturday. Wearing a blue suit and a pink turban, Mr Sidhu arrived in Lahore via the Wagah border.
Welcoming the “change” in Pakistan’s democracy, he said Mr Khan as the new Prime Minister should come forward in peace initiative between the two neighbours. He said he has brought “a message of love” to Pakistan as a goodwill ambassador of India.
“I have come here not as a politician but as a friend. I have come here to take part in the happiness of my friend (Imran),” he said, adding, “sportsmen and artistes help in bringing the people of two sides closer. Hindustan jeevay, Pakistan jeevay”.