Vastavam web: Pakistani lawmakers elected former cricket legend Imran Khan prime minister on Friday and he pledged to bring to justice “all those who have robbed this country” through corruption.Parliament’s move cleared the way for the 65-year-old Khan to set up a coalition government and his first major task will be to avert a brewing economic crisis after his party swept to election victory on July 25.
Pakistan has been plagued by boom-and-bust cycles and military coups since independence in 1947, as well as by Islamist militant violence in more recent years.
Khan, a firebrand nationalist, has promised to create millions of jobs and build world-class hospitals and school systems in the mainly-Muslim country of 208 million people.
“I want to thank the people and I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to bring change,” Khan, wearing a black waistcoat over traditional white shalwar kameez robes, said in a combative speech in parliament.“First of all we have to do strict accountability,” Khan added. “Those who have robbed this country, I will hold each and every one of you accountable.”In a sign of Pakistan’s bitter political divisions, opposition lawmakers surrounded Khan and disrupted his speech throughout by shouting “thief, thief Imran Khan” and “puppet”.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds 151 of the 342 seats in the lower chamber of parliament, short of a majority, but is expected to form a coalition government with smaller parties.In Friday’s lower house vote, Khan garnered 176 votes to defeat Shehbaz Sharif from the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, who won 96 votes. Khan, who will be sworn in on Saturday, has yet to announce his cabinet.