Friday, 22 June 2012 23:31
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party's candidate Raja Pervaiz Asharf on Friday was elected as the 25th Prime Minister of the country, defeating Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
"Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has got 211 votes. Sardar Mehtab Abbasi has got 89 votes. So Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is declared to be elected as Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan," announced Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza who presided over the hour-long voting process.
Pervaiz Ashraf was one of the three candidates the PPP had fielded to contest for coveted prime ministerial slot as two others were Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Qamar Zaman Kaira.
Shahabuddin, the unanimous nominee was dropped after Anti- Narcotics Force Rawalpindi issued his arrest warrants for his alleged involvement in allowing the import of controlled Ephedrine drug during his tenure as health minister.
Born on December 26, 1950 in Sanghar, Sindh, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was the Federal Minister for Information Technology and earlier Minister for Water and Power in the present PPP-led government.
He has been twice elected as a Member of the National Assembly from his constituency of Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi with the latest being of February 2008 elections.
As proceedings of the session started at around 1826 hours, the Speaker guided the members as how to cast vote to elect their new Leader of the 342-member House.
The members, willing to support the PPP candidate were asked to the Chamber through the Lobby-A on Speaker's right side and those favoring the PML-N candidate to move out through Lobby-B on Speaker's left.
After five-minute bell-ringing to call the members inside Chamber, the doors were locked until the Speaker's ruling to leave the Chamber for voting. The members returned to their seats after the voting concluded followed by two-minute bell-ringing.
In total 310 members were present in the Chamber of those, 300 used their right to vote and rest 10 from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl abstained from voting after their candidate Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced to withdraw his candidacy papers moments before start of the voting.
Four seats of the National Assembly are lying vacant including those of Yusuf Raza Gilani, Fauzia Wahab, Farah Naz Isphahani and one from FATA.
The Speaker's announcement for election of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as new premier was cheered by desk-thumping Jiyay Bhutto slogans from inside the House as well as the lobbies.
Even before his election, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf remained gossiping with members from both ruling and opposition members while moving to their seats.
As proceedings started, he headed towards Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and shook hand with him. And after his election as prime minister, he moved to runner up candidate Sardar Mehtab Abbasi for a handshake.
Earlier, Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced to withdraw his candidacy papers and abstention from voting admitting what he said, his failure to evolve consensus on fielding a unanimously-agreed candidate to help the country steer out of prevailing political chaos and split among institutions.
Before prorogation of the session, Speaker National Assembly congratulated Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, ruling and coalition party on his election as Prime Minister and all the members for completing the process smoothly.
"His election was an evidence of trust and confidence of the representatives of the people in his leadership and abilities," she said.
She advised all members to allow running regular session to with such smoothness to complete this parliamentary term with a positive note as the country could not afford confrontation.
The Speaker also advised both ruling and opposition benches to sit together to carve out a strategy for country's deliverance from prevailing crises as no single party could face all the challenges.
Prime Minister-Elect Raja Pervaiz Ashraf described development of agricultural and industrial sectors, resolution to the problems of Balochistan people, holding dialogue with Baloch youth and compensation to the injustice meted out to them as his key preferences.
He said Pakistan desires peaceful relations with neighboring countries - Iran, Afghanistan and India and it want to resolve all outstanding issues including the Kashmir issue through dialogue. "We believe in peaceful co-existence. We also attach great importance to our relations with time tested friend China and the brotherly Arab countries."
Consolidating Pakistan's relations with European Union and having relations with United States and other world nations on equal footing to promote peace and stability in our region and in the world, would also be his priority, Pervaiz said and added, peace in Afghanistan is imperative for peace in Pakistan.
He said, to meet the challenges and put in place a system based on good-governance, the country direly needed impartial and powerful accountability system. Therefore, I seek cooperation of the opposition parties to deliberate on pending Accountability Bill and bring it to the House to give country an effective Accountability Law.
Pervaiz Ashraf said, "I am a human being. I can commit a mistake. But, I promise that the office presented to me is the chair of martyrs and I pledge to work to my full capacity and capability to promote good governance for strengthening the country and the welfare of our people."
He assured the Parliament and the people of Pakistan to abide by guiding principles and vision of founder of the Nation Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Quaid-e-Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
"I will sincerely resolve the masses problems and seek guidance from President Asif Ali Zardari to play a role in resolving national and international issues," he added.
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2012