ISLAMABAD -  Many thought they had entered a Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) rally when they stepped into the parliament Tuesday to witness the new Prime Minister’s election.

The PML-N workers chanted deafening slogans in favour of Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted as the premier last week by the Supreme Court for hiding assets.

Even the PML-N lawmakers carried Nawaz Sharif’s portraits when they made their way in the National Assembly hall. The press and guest galleries were also stuffed with the PML-N loyalists who made the life for Speaker Ayaz Sadiq miserable as he struggled to keep the house in order.

The newly-elected Prime Minister – Shahid Khaqan Abbasi – was not left far behind. He had erected a picture of Nawaz Sharif at the PM’s seat to pay tributes to the beleaguered leader. Several times, Ayaz Sadiq warned that the noisy crowed could be thrown out but this did not silence Nawaz Sharif’s lovers.

Fulfilling the expectations of the PML-N activists, Abbasi vowed to continue the mission of Nawaz Sharif. In his maiden address in the National Assembly as the elected premier, Abbasi said the only crime Sharif had committed was making Pakistan a nuclear power and putting it on the road to prosperity.

The PM warned that there was a court which was bigger than the National Assembly which would announce its verdict soon. He asserted that Sharif was still the PM for public.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan sat next to the new PM but never looked cheerful. His hug to Abbasi, after he won the election, too was very casual. During the voting process, the senior PML-N leader – who had announced to quit the politics after the Panama leaks verdict – held ‘corner meetings’ with his supporters among the lawmakers. He was seen stressing his words as he spoke to the legislators.

Abbasi was soft on the PPP. He praised Naveed Qamar, the PPP candidate for the PM’s slot, and recalled his decades-old friendship with the veteran lawmaker. Qamar too was courteous. He acknowledged his friendship with Abbasi and vowed to support him on the issues of the national interest.

The PM taunted the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf calling them habitual abusers who spared no opportunity to criticise the PML-N.

Inside the house, the PML-N was sure to win so there were no surprises but a PTI lawmaker - Ayesha Gulalai Wazir – stole the show, inviting all the media attention, by accusing her leader Imran Khan of playing with the dignity of the women workers.

Wazir announced to quit the PTI and blamed Imran Khan for giving no respect to the women. This was a huge setback for the PTI chief who was still celebrating Nawaz Sharif’s ouster.

Apparently oblivious of the happenings outside the parliament, PTI’s nominee Sheikh Rashid Ahmed tried to attack Marayam Nawaz but was stopped by Abid Sher Ali and others. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the chair that if anything untoward happened to him, Nawaz Sharif will be responsible for it.

This could still not deter the PML-N activists to target the lawmaker outside the parliament building. They tried to manhandle him and abused him as he rushed out.

Only about 60 lawmakers were present in the house as the proceedings drew to a close. This scene was not uncommon for the journalists sitting in the press gallery as the issue of quorum had haunted the PML-N government all through the last four years.

Abbasi left the house much before accepting the congratulatory speeches by the lawmakers from across the divide to take oath of his office. Qamar and Ahmed, the rival candidates, earlier had wished extension in the 45-day tenure of the new premier.

As ever, PTI chief Imran Khan opted to stay away from the proceedings leaving it to Shah Mehmood Qureshi to lead the party in the house.