PTI parliamentarians officially name Imran Khan as next prime minister of Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentary party in a meeting here on Monday officially named party chairman Imran Khan for the office of the Prime Minister while vice-chairman of the PTI Shah Mahmood Qureshi has been nominated for Speaker of the National Assembly.

To become premier, Khan will face a vote in parliament — perhaps as early as on Saturday — in which he will have to defeat a rival candidate fielded by the opposition.

Khan’s Tahreek-e-Insaf party won most parliament seats in last month’s general elections — 115 — but fell short of a majority in 342-seat assembly, requiring it to form a coalition. Many lawmakers who won parliament seats running as independents in the July 25 vote have joined his coalition.

Senior party leader from Sindh Imran Ismail has also been named for Sindh’s governorship. Sources privy to the development, however, said Shah Mahmood Qureshi had some reservations over his name being considered for Speakership of the National Assembly but he was convinced by senior leaders of the party.

PTI is also mulling over names of Ishaq Khakwani, Dr Babar Awan, Rai Azizullah and Ejaz Chaudhry for the slot of Governor Punjab, sources further said.

Imran Khan, instead of grinning or beaming with joy over his party’s landslide victory in the wake of July 25 elections, was his usual self after his name was proposed, seconded and unanimously confirmed by the party members. He looked calm, quiet and quite mindful of the challenges ahead.

This was the first interaction of Chairman Khan with the parliamentarians of his party Pakistan Tehreeik-e-Insaf (PTI) since elections and some 125 MNAs and close aides and elders of the party had turned at a five-star hotel of Islamabad to officially name him for Prime Minister’s office.

PTI vice-chairman and MNA elect from Multan Shah Mahmood Qureshi moved a resolution nominating Khan party’s candidature for prime minister’s office.

It was seconded by Dr Shireen Mazari, Arif Alvi and was unanimously passed by the party MNAs and also by President of Awami Muslim League (AML) Rashid Ahmad who was also present on the occasion

Following the formal confirmation and congratulations, Imran Khan was invited by Qureshi to address the party leaders and workers.

In his usual white Pakistan dress, shalwar kameez, and Peshawari sandals, Imran Khan thanked party members for their confidence and cautioned them to be mindful of the responsibility, trust and expectations of the masses.

After Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, this is the first time that people of Pakistan have so overwhelmingly elected someone out of political elite, said Imran Khan. This is also rare that a third party has emerged defeating the two parties that have been ruling the country alternatively for last many decades, he said.

Imran Khan said he was very clear in his approach with regard to running the government. I shall uphold merit in all matters and will never ask you to do what I myself don’t practise, he said.

According to him, he believed in leading by example and this he also expects from his members of the Parliament. I will never lose direct contact with the people. “Every week I will directly answer to the people’s questions and queries and shall always welcome their criticism,” he said.

Imran Khan referred to his 22-year long struggle and expressed his gratitude to Almighty and people of Pakistan for making his dream a reality. Today, the first phase of 22-year struggle is over and this is time to deliver, said Imran Khan.

— with inputs from AP

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