All Nawab Khan of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party have resigned en masse in protest of Monday’s vote, and urgent elections will now have to be held to replace them. After the vote, Khan called on his supporters to take to the streets. He is scheduled to stage his next mass rally on April 16 in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan.
In a speech to Parliament before being sworn in, Sharif spoke of unity across the country, including in his coalition government.
He said he would introduce a 10% increase in pensions and raise the minimum monthly wage rate to 25,000 rupees – equivalent to $136 a month.
Sharif’s appointment as Pakistan’s 31st prime minister comes after widespread protests in support of Khan erupted late Sunday.
Tens of thousands took to the streets in major cities, including Lahore and Peshawar, to support the ousted leader. They chanted slogans against the United States – which Khan claimed was involved in a plot against him – and the country’s powerful military, which seemed to be withdrawing its support.
Against this backdrop of political turmoil and a collapsing economy, Sharif is now facing a difficult period as the country’s leader.
He has been praised for his ambitious administrative and infrastructure projects in the province, which have seen developments in the education and industry sectors.
Sharif has been instrumental in leading the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and maintains a positive relationship with Beijing.
Shahbaz Sharif rejected the ruling, calling it “flawed” and “politically motivated”. Shahbaz Sharif also faces corruption charges.
In recent months, Sharif has led a campaign to oust Khan as Pakistan’s leader over allegations of economic mismanagement and mismanagement. Alongside the opposition, he urged Khan to resign ahead of a vote of no-confidence that was widely expected to dismiss Khan.
Tensions simmered for several days, with Khan repeatedly dismissing the criticism and instead claiming that the moves against him were an attempt at regime change with support from Washington and some members of the opposition. Both the US State Department and the Pakistani opposition have denied the allegations.
In a dramatic chain of events, the deputy speaker of Parliament blocked a vote of no-confidence against Khan. Khan then dissolved parliament and called early elections. The opposition has challenged Khan’s moves in Pakistan’s highest court, describing them as “nothing less than high treason” by Sharif.
The court ruled last week that blocking Khan’s no-confidence vote was unconstitutional, paving the way for Sharif’s rise to power.
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