- Secures 174 votes as PTI lawmakers boycott National Assembly session after Shah Mahmood Qureshi announces mass resignations
- Announces increase in minimum wage to Rs25,000 from April 1
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, the former chief minister of Pakistan's largest province Punjab, was sworn in as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan in a ceremony hosted at the Aiwan-i-Sadr.
He was administered the oath by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjarani. The ceremony commenced with the playing of the national anthem, followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran.
Shehbaz was elected as the premier by the National Assembly on Monday following a no-trust motion that ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as premier during the weekend.
The development came after PTI lawmakers announced mass resignation, and boycotted the session, paving the way for Shehbaz to secure a total of 174 votes, the same number that was registered during the no-trust motion against Khan.
Ayaz Sadiq presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri also resigned from his post as deputy speaker.
In-camera briefing on 'threat letter', and increase in minimum wage
Later, addressing the floor of the Parliament, Shehbaz said it was the first time in Pakistan's history that a no-confidence motion against a PM had been successful, adding that "good has prevailed over evil".
He said today was a "big day" for Pakistan when a "selected" premier was sent packing in a legal and constitutional manner.
He thanked the Supreme Court for burying the doctrine of necessity forever. "In the future, no one will be able to rely on it," he said.
Regarding the "threat letter", Shehbaz said that the former government had said that the letter came to them on March 7, but the opposition's decisions were made way before that.
He added that if what the previous government claimed is a lie, then the matter should be disclosed transparently before the public.
Shehbaz said that the parliament's security committee would be given an in-camera briefing on the "threat letter" in presence of armed forces personnel and bureaucrats as well as the ambassador who wrote it.
"If there is an iota of evidence that we were backed by foreign conspirators, then I will not think for another second and resign from the office of the prime minister," Shehbaz said.
He said the US dollar's value has already declined by Rs8, adding that this signifies the "happiness of the people with the change."
Talking about Pakistan's foreign policy, Shehbaz said that his government would aim to establish good relations with everyone and expand the country's diplomatic reach.
On Pakistan's ties with India, he said: "We want good relations with India but lasting peace can not be achieved until the resolution of the Kashmir issue."
"I suggest to Prime Minister Modi to sit down and talk about the Kashmir issue as per the UN resolutions.”
Turning his attention to the economy, Shehbaz said, "I have said it many times that a life of debt is no life."
"If we have to take the country's economy forward, we will have to opt for dialogue over deadlock."
Shehbaz also announced raising the minimum wage to Rs25,000, applicable from April 1.
"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announces minimum wage to be raised to Rs 25,000 per month effective April 1. New PM also requests that employers give a 10% increase to all people making less than Rs100,000/ month, " tweeted PML-N's Miftah Ismail.
Meanwhile, Shehbaz added that his government will speed up Beijing-backed projects in the country. The projects are being carried out under the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.
The session began with the recitation of the Holy Quran. As per the NA agenda issued by the house's secretariat, the PM's election was the only item on the agenda.
Explaining an earlier decision to dismiss the no-confidence motion against Khan, Suri said that he had made the decision "as a responsible Pakistani and deputy speaker of the NA".
"The ruling was declared unconstitutional by the court ... and we all are obliged to respect the court," he said.
Suri announced that he would forward the declassified letter of "foreign conspiracy" to the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
In his turn, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the constitutional process has to end today, adding that some will be declared a winner, while others will be declared free.
Qureshi further said that although he was the PTI's candidate for the PM, he is boycotting the election.
“We will not legitimise a government brought by foreign intervention. We are boycotting and announcing our resignation from NA,” Qureshi said.
Following his announcement, the PTI lawmakers walked out of the assembly.
The joint opposition had earlier nominated Shehbaz Sharif for the post of prime minister, while the PTI had nominated its vice-chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Both filed their nomination papers on Sunday, which were accepted by the National Assembly secretary.
In order to be elected, one candidate must get at least 172 votes in the 342-seat NA.
PTI lawmakers announce resignations from National Assembly
Ahead of the National Assembly, PTI lawmakers had announced their decision to resign from the assembly.
In a tweet, Fawad Chaudhry said that all members of the assembly will be submitting their resignations to the speaker today.
PTI tells its MNAs to vote or face disqualification
Earlier, PTI General Secretary Asad Umar had issued directives to party members to vote for its PM nominee, Qureshi.
In a letter, Umar warned that any violation of the directives will amount to defection from PTI and will lead to disqualification from the membership of the National Assembly.
Imran Khan loses no-trust vote
In the wee hours of Sunday, the voting on the no-confidence resolution against Khan was completed, with 174 members voting in favor of it.
Following the vote, the cabinet division de-notified 52 members of the federal cabinet — 25 federal ministers, four advisers to the PM, four ministers of state and 19 special assistants to the PM.