Khan lawmakers are retreating en masse as the Pakistani parliament elects Sharif’s prime minister

  • New Prime Minister Sharif seen as closer to the west
  • Promises to fix the economy, improve ties with the US, India, China
  • The ousted Prime Minister Khan promises to continue the agitation

ISLAMABAD, April 11 (Reuters) – More than 100 lawmakers loyal to Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan resigned on Monday, creating headaches for the new, Western-friendly established Shehbaz Sharif as he tries to withdraw his country out of the political and economic crisis. .

Parliament’s election of Sharif, 70, as prime minister on Monday followed a week-long constitutional crisis that reached a climax on Sunday when Khan, 69, lost a no – confidence vote in parliament.

His departure from power sparked street protests and a mass resignation of MPs from Khan’s Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf party in protest of the impending change of government.

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If the resignations are accepted by the speaker, Pakistan faces a prospect of more than 100 by-elections within two months, a major distraction for Sharif and his coalition partners and a potential platform for Khan to mobilize his support.

It can again ensure that the nuclear-armed nation of 220 million people remains exposed to political and economic turbulence.

Sharif has a reputation at home as an effective administrator more than as a politician. He is the younger brother of triple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. L2N2W70HM

Analysts say Shehbaz, unlike Nawaz, enjoys friendly relations with the Pakistani military, which traditionally controls foreign and defense policy.

Following Monday’s vote, Sharif vowed to tackle an economic malaise that has caused the rupee to reach a record low, with the central bank implementing the largest rate hike in decades last week.

“If we are to save the sinking boat, we all need hard work and unity, unity and unity,” he told parliament.

“We are entering a new era of development today.”

He took office in Pakistan’s presidential residence late Monday at a ceremony filled with lawmakers and leaders from the combined opposition.

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The younger Sharif emerged as the leader of a united opposition to overthrow Khan, a former cricket star who has claimed the United States was behind his downfall, a claim that Washington denies.

Sharif said in an interview last week that good relations with the United States were crucial for Pakistan for better or worse, in stark contrast to Khan’s stinging ties to Washington.

In his maiden speech, he also talked about improving relations with the neighbors India and China.

“We want good relations with India, but lasting peace can not be possible without Kashmir’s solution,” he said, referring to the disputed Himalayan territory over which the countries have fought several wars.

He said his government would speed up the construction of the $ 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – part of the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative.

MILITARY COMMITTEE

No elected prime minister has completed a full term in Pakistan since gaining independence from colonial power Britain in 1947, though Khan is the first to be removed by a no-confidence vote.

The military has ruled the country for nearly half of its nearly 75-year history. It looked positive on Khan and his conservative agenda when he won the 2018 election.

This support waned after an altercation over the appointment of a military intelligence chief and financial problems.

Khan remained defiant after his defeat in parliament.

Thousands of his supporters in several cities held protests against his ouster, which continued until the early hours of Monday.

Nawaz Sharif was barred by the Supreme Court in 2017 from holding a public office and subsequently traveled abroad for medical treatment after serving just a few months of a 10-year prison sentence for corruption charges.

“There can be no major insult to this country,” Khan, who was ousted in the early hours of Sunday morning, told reporters on Monday about the prospect of Shehbaz Sharif being elected.

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Reporting by Asif Shahzad, Syed Raza Hassan and Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam in Islamabad; Further reporting by Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar and Gul Yousafzai in Quetta; Written by Alasdair Pal; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore, William Maclean and Howard Goller

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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