ISLAMABAD - PML-N’s nominee, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Tuesday defeated all his three rivals from the divided opposition, winning the election of prime minister by securing 221 votes in the 342-member National Assembly.

Later, President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to the newly elected Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, at an impressive and dignified ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

PPP’s Naveed Qamar secured 47 votes, AML chief Sheikh Rashid 33 and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariq Ullah only four votes. Both ANP’s Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and BNP’s Essa Nori abstained from the voting process. Despite being an opposition party, MQM lawmakers also cast votes in favour of PML-N candidate.

The election process was held amid heavy sloganeering, exchange of hot words and verbal brawl between opposition and treasury lawmakers.

The National Assembly’s house throughout the four-hour proceedings witnessed rumpus as many moments came when the verbal brawl was feared to convert into fist fight.

The eventful day also saw the photo session with Prime Minister-elect Shahid Khaqan Abbasi by majority of treasury legislators even before the announcement of results, taunts and teasing remarks for PM’s contender Sheikh Rashid by the government members and Chaudhary Nisar’s conversation with over 20 members of the ruling party for over 15 minutes. PML-N MNAs were also holding placards with pictures of former PM Nawaz Sharif in the house.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in his maiden address as the prime minister, made several hard pledges to the nation, including collection of taxes.

Amid repeated interruption during the speech, Abbasi also kept responding to the comments and taunts from the opposition benches, unlike other prime ministers of the country.

Abbasi, taking a sip of water from bottle, started his speech with thanks to lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who cast votes in his favour and against. “I am grateful to you all for following the democratic process whether you voted for or against me,” said Abbasi thrice wiping sweat from his forehead.

He pledged to introduce tax collection system with the support of his cabinet members. “It is a wrong perception that paying taxes is optional. If the cabinet approves, I will set my sights on non-taxpayers,” he said.

About the tenure of interim PM (around 45 days), Abbasi said he would work hard as the Prime minister of the country. “I stay as PM for 45 days or 45 hours, but would work for the country,” he said amid slogans of LNG scandal from opposition side. “Baita (son), I am ready to talk on LNG anytime,” he responded to the opposition members from PTI.

The newly-elected PM said he would continue taking difficult decisions as he promised to take action against private militias to provide security to citizens. “There is no country in the world which allows licence of automatic guns for citizens. Here, If you go outside the parliament right now, you will see private guards carrying automatic guns,” he said.

A second PM from Potohar region (after Raja Pervaiz Ashraf) vowed to eliminate loadshedding by November this year. About Nawaz Sharif, Abbasi said various infrastructure and development projects initiated by his party’s government are examples of its commitment to the country’s growth. “In Pakistan’s history, power projects with the capacity to generate 17,000 megawatts have been established. We have added 10,000MW to the system,” he said.

He also talked about focusing on agriculture, education and health services. “I am not an agriculturalist, but I feel agriculture is the backbone of the country,” Abbasi said and called for improvement in the higher education and need for a national testing mechanism.

About the SC verdict to disqualify Nawaz Sharif, the PM said the verdict on the Panama case was accepted by his party although it was unprecedented. “My party did not challenge the courts,” he said, dispelling the impression that there was any division in the PML-N.

He said everybody wants the prime minister’s chair. “Tell me who in this house does not want to get this slot. Credit goes to PML-N that all party members unanimously accepted the decision of the leadership,” he said. At the end of his speech, he said the real prime minister of Pakistan is Nawaz Sharif and he will return to the slot.

Soon after the announcement of PML-N’s victory by NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, the house echoed with the slogans in favour of Nawaz Sharif.

Naveed Qamar, PM’s contender from PPP, advised the newly-elected prime minister to consider parliament as a pivot of policies.

AML chief Sheikh Rashid, facing teasing remarks mainly from treasury member Abid Sher Ali, congratulated the newly-elected prime minster. “You (PM) should have talked about foreign policy of the country in your speech,” he said, accepting the challenge to debate the LNG scandal at any TV channel. Rashid faced so much interruption that he seemingly preferred to wind up his speech when saw the emotions of some treasury lawmakers. He was talking about the daughter of former prime minister in the Panamagate when Abid Sher Ali and Capt (r) Safdar asked him to her name with respect. “If I was killed, my FIR should be registered against Nawaz Sharif and his family,” he remarked.

PkMAP Chief Mehmood Achakzai said there was a need to respect the constitution of the country. “This is the time to seriously deliberate on the issue related to the fate of prime ministers of the country,” he said, adding everyone, including generals and judges, should respect the constitution of the country.

“We do not accept any general who doesn’t follow the constitution of the country,” he said. “Without peace, this country cannot become an Asian tiger,” he said, underlining need to respect the parliament and the constitution.

MQM’ Farooq Sattar , on his turn, asked the Prime minister-elect to focus on the largest city of the country (Karachi). “There is a need of complete peace in the country,” he said.

ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour criticised the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Panamagate. “The decision was on an Iqama, not on corruption,” he said, adding he abstained from voting in the process of election of PM.

The house saw thin presence of lawmakers (around 70) after the speech of the prime minister. Even Shahid Khaqan Abbasi left the house during the speeches of different party members. Imran Khan missed the important session.