ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan was formally elected country’s 22nd prime minister on Friday, promising a new era of responsibility and prosperity in a fighting speech in the National Assembly amid hostile sloganeering by the opposition members.
The cricketer-turned politician secured 176 votes against PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif who could bag 96 votes only.
Clad in a waistcoat and traditional white shalwar kameez garments, Imran Khan smiled broadly and could be seen wiping tears from his eyes while clutching prayer beads as the count was announced.
In a sign of bitter political divisions, opposition lawmakers surrounded Khan and disrupted his speech throughout by shouting “thief, thief Imran Khan” and “puppet”.
The house witnessed a rumpus even before the start of voting process for the election of the leader of the house, which continued till the maiden speech of the newly-elected prime minister in the 15th National Assembly.
PTI lawmakers, except some senior members, also created a similar noisy scene during the speech of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif with the support of people in guest galleries.
The younger Sharif was expected to give some fight to the former cricket hero with the backing of the joint opposition, but the PPP abstained from participating in the election of the prime minister .
The speeches of both the leaders could not be heard due to the ear-deafening sloganeering ‘competition’ between the members of these two parties.
The full-throat slogans raised by PML-N members “Fake Mandate Na Manzoor”, “Vote Chor Imran”, “Jaali Wazir-e-Azam Na Manzoor” continued for around an hour on account of which National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser suspended the house proceedings for 15 minutes. Most of them were holding the pictures of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in their hands.
The National Assembly speaker, owing to the messy situation in the house, even could not comfortably ask elected premier Imran Khan to take the seat of the leader of the house.
PTI legislators, adopting the same hostile manner, raised slogans “Wazir-e-Azam Imran Khan”, “Sher Ka Shikari Aya”, “Aai Aai PTI”, etc.
Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan was given the floor amid the same unpleasant situation as members from both the parties gathered around the speaker’s podium.
Imran Khan , in his fiery address to the house, clearly announced he would neither spare the looters of the country nor would he allow any national reconciliation ordinance (NRO) for any robber.
"I am here after 22 years of struggle. No dictator has taken care of me. I am standing here in this parliament on my own feet," he told the assembly after the vote, implicitly defending himself against widespread claims the military had fixed the election in his favour.
"First of all, we will start strict accountability. I promise to my God that everyone who looted this country will be made accountable."
The premier said he would bring the change which the masses had been seeking for the last 70 years and introduce a strict accountability for all. “I will answer questions twice a month in the National Assembly as the prime minister ,” he said and mentioned Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was his real hero.
About the rigging issue in 2013 polls, Imran said he had sought scrutiny of four constituencies, but the demand was rejected. “I struggled for 22 years and I am proud that we can lead this country to make it as Quaid-e-Azam envisioned.”
He said: “We will together debate and think about how to generate our own revenues to avoid dependence on another country.”
About the protest by PML-N, he said the previous government had not taken action against missing forms 45 and rigging.
He further said, “No one has ever been able to blackmail me. Please go ahead, lodge a protest and hit the streets, we will provide containers to you. I challenge Shehbaz Sharif and his members to protest even for one month, no matter what you do, you will not get an NRO.”
The speaker, soon after the speech of Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan , gave the floor to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. It was the turn of PTI members with the support of some people from guest galleries to create the same mess and sloganeering.
Shehbaz, on his turn, said the people had rejected the July 2018 elections and requested the National Assembly speaker to constitute a parliamentary commission to probe the rigging allegations within 30 days, adding amendments should be introduced in ‘Election Act, 2017’ in the light of the recommendations of the commission to resolve the rigging issue.
Shehbaz further said the Election Commission's Result Transmission System (RTS) failed on the polling day. He alleged polling agents were expelled from polling stations and 1.6 million votes were rejected. “The RTS was forced to halt, voting process was slowed and, instead of giving copies of form 45, results were provided to polling agents on plain papers,” he said.
“We have pledged to give protection to the democratic system and, despite reservations about the elections, we will never undermine sanctity of the house.”
He also warned of protests by the grand opposition if the incoming government failed to address their reservations.
MMA leader Maulana Abdul Wasay, on his turn, condemned the alleged rigging in the July polls. He raised serious objections over the Election Commission of Pakistan.
MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool, congratulating Imran Khan , strongly criticised the protest by the opposition parties. He feared this messy situation was a suicide attack on the democratic setup.
BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal said a commission should be formed to resolve the issue of the rigging. He said the problems of Balochistan should be solved by the next government. “I will congratulate Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan when his government delivers for Balochistan and rest of the country,” he said.
Murtaza Abbasi, a PML-N lawmaker, said in parliament Imran Khan was “brought here by aliens”.
Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan will be sworn in at a ceremony on Saturday (today).