ISLAMABAD -  The United States on Tuesday vowed to work with the new Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, for a democratic Pakistan.

In a statement issued here by the US embassy, American Ambassador David Hale congratulated Prime Minister Abbasi on his election by the National Assembly.   “We look forward to working with him to advance our shared interests in a secure, democratic, peaceful, and prosperous Pakistan and region,” the envoy said in his message.  

Earlier in the day, Abbasi was elected as the new premier, replacing Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified by the Supreme Court last week.

Abbasi, who will hold the office for around two months, secured 221 votes.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s Naveed Qamar received 47 votes, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate Sheikh Rashid Ahmed got 33 votes.

Only four votes were cast for Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahabzada Tariqullah.

Shehbaz Sharif, brother of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif will contest by-polls in September and would be eventually elected as the premier for the remaining term of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in the government until June 2018.

In 2013, Nawaz Sharif had won 224 votes from the lower house when he was elected as the prime minister.

In the recent past, the Pak-US ties have been tense.

The tension started last year, when the US refused to share the price of the F-16 jets that were to be sold to Pakistan and it reached its peak when Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in Balochistan in a US drone strike. Pakistan protested against the extension of drone attacks but the US refused to budge an inch.

Washington has also showed its tilt towards India on international issues.

This month, Pentagon withheld $50 million to be paid under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan. The US Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis, said at a meeting of the Congress defence committees that he was unable to verify Pakistan’s efforts against the Haqqani group.

Islamabad said that Pakistan would not give up its right to the CSF and convince the US to release the funds as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, US embassy spokesperson Fleur Cown held a farewell reception for the Pakistani journalists here.  She introduced the new spokesperson, Richard W Snelsire, to the journalists.

Cown and other members of the media team will leave Pakistan this week after completing their terms and will be replaced by Snelsire, Melanie L Bonner and others.