Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected new Prime Minister of Pakistan

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz‘s (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan after he bagged 221 votes during the voting in the National Assembly (NA) called by President Mamnoon Hussain after the Supreme Court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding office.

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He secured 221 votes against Pakistan Peoples’ party’s Naveed Qamar’s 47 and Sheikh Rashid’s 33. Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah managed to secure only four votes.

“I am grateful to the members, the masses, and Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister of the masses,” Abbasi said after being elected. “I am even thankful to Imran Khan despite his party’s mudslinging.”

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former petroleum minister will act as interim prime minister until Shehbaz Sharif is elected to the Parliament to become eligible to be sworn in as the prime minister.

PML-N’s ally Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has also backed Abbasi. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also backed Abbasi as hours before the election, MQM had withdrawn its candidate Kishwar Zehra in favor of the PML-N nominee Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Dawn News reported.

Abbasi is expected to take over as interim prime minister until Shahbaz Sharif is elected to the Parliament, and then to the prime minister’s office.

The 58-year old politician hailing from Murree’s Abbasi family was destined to become a businessman but contested elections from NA-50 Murree after Shahid’s father Khaqan Abbasi, who was a federal minister in General Ziaul Haq’s cabinet, died in April 1988.

He then joined Islami Jamhori Ittehad (IJI). Abbasi again won from the platform of IJI in 1990. In 1993, when Pakistan Muslim League emerged under Sharif’s leadership (which later became PML-Nawaz) Abbasi won on PML’s ticket.

Beginning from 1988 till 2013 he has been elected to the National Assembly for six times. However, he lost to PPP’s Murtaza Satti in the 2002 general elections. Abbasi is a graduate of the University of California and holds a master’s degree from George Washington University, the Express Tribune reported.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday announced September 17 as the date for holding the election for NA-120 by-polls, which was left vacant after the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court.

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According to ECP, the candidates will be able to submit their nomination papers between August 10-12. The ECP will review nomination papers between August 15-17.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Dr. Yasmeen Rashid who are expected to contest the election on tickets of PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf respectively can file their nomination papers between August 10-12, according to the election schedule released by ECP.

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