Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan today took oath as Pakistan's 22nd Prime Minister. Former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu was also among the special guests invited by Khan's team to attend the ceremony.
With this, Imran Khan's government has become the third consecutive democratic government in Pakistan since 2008 when military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf announced elections after serving as president from 2001 to 2008 following a bloodless coup in 1999.
Khan was formally elected as Pakistan's new Prime Minister yesterday after he defeated veteran politician Shahbaz Sharif in a one-sided election in the National Assembly.
The election for the top post became just a formality after the Pakistan People's Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with 54 seats abstained from voting following a rift over Sharif's candidature.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI chairman Imran Khan secured 176 votes while his only rival and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shehbaz Sharif got 96 votes.
A total of 172 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament were needed to form a government.
The voting was held in open through division of members in different galleries designated for different candidates.
The PPP lawmakers remained seated during the voting process. Even Shehbaz Sharif spoke to Bhutto to persuade him not to abstain. However, Bhutto excused himself from voting.
Sharif, younger brother of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, served as the Chief Minister of Punjab province from 2013 to 2018. He became PML-N president after his elder brother was barred from holding the top party position and public posts.
During the voting, Khan received support of smaller parties including Muttahida Quami Movement with seven seats, Balochistan Awami Party five, Balochistan National Party four, Pakistan Muslim League three, Grand Democratic Alliance three, Awami Muslim League and Jamori Watan Party one seat each.
The PTI emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats in July 25 elections. Its number increased to 125 after nine independent members joined it and final tally reached 158 after it was allotted 28 out of 60 seats reserved for women and five out of 10 seats reserved for minorities.
(With inputs from PTI )