Islamabad, Aug 18:Imran Khan – cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief – took oath as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister on Saturday. He was administered the oath by President Mamnoon Hussain at a simple ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad.
The ceremony, which was scheduled to begin at 9:30am, started 40-minute late. It commenced with the national anthem, followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Khan arrived at the President House in a black sherwani from his Banigala residence. He was seen little nervous while taking the oath as he faced difficulties in pronouncing some Urdu words.
The PTI chief along with his wife Bushra Imran greeted various guests and proceeded to the Prime Minister’s Office where he was presented the guard of honour. Several high-profile guests including 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 were present at the ceremony.
Others who were in attendance to witness Khan’s formal ascension to the top ministerial job in the country include — 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.
Khan defeated his only rival and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shahbaz Sharif in a one-sided election for the top post in the National Assembly. Of the total National Assembly members, 176 voted in favour of Khan, while his opponent, Shahbaz received 96 votes. Hence, making the way clear for the PTI chief to become the new PM.
The election in the 15th National Assembly was held on July 25 and results were declared the next day in which Khan’s PTI emerged as the largest party securing 116 seats. Opposition parties Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 64 and 43 seats respectively. However, Khan did not have the majority to form the government as a total of 172 votes were needed for that in the 342-member lower house of Parliament.
In his first address to parliament, Khan had vowed to act against those who looted Pakistan. “I promise my nation today that we will bring the tabdeeli (change) that this nation was starving for,” Khan said yesterday after winning the election. We have to hold strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them. The money that was laundered, I will bring it back – the money that should have gone towards health, education, and water, went into people’s pockets,” Khan had said.