Pakistan’s Shehbaz Sharif set to take oath as prime minister for second term

Pakistan’s Shehbaz Sharif set to take oath as prime minister for second term
Pakistan’s Shehbaz Sharif set to take oath as prime minister for second term

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Pakistani politician Shehbaz Sharif was set today to become prime minister for the second time in a vote by the country’s newly formed parliament, three weeks after uncertain national elections led to the formation of a coalition government. — Reuters pic

ISLAMABAD, March 3 — Pakistani politician Shehbaz Sharif was set today to become prime minister for the second time in a vote by the country’s newly formed parliament, three weeks after uncertain national elections led to the formation of a coalition government.

Pakistan went to the polls on February 8 in a vote marred by a mobile internet shutdown on election day; arrests and violence in its build-up; and unusually delayed results, leading to accusations that the vote was rigged.

Sharif will return to the role he held until August when parliament was dissolved ahead of the elections and a caretaker government took charge.

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The vote in the country’s parliament, which first met on Thursday, will take place amidst tight security as candidates backed by former jailed premier Imran Khan have protested against the election result and called for his release.

Sharif, 72, is the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who spearheaded their Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s election campaign.

Candidates backed by Khan gained the most seats but the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party agreed to form a coalition government, which enabled Shehbaz Sharif to be elected as prime minister as his brother stepped aside.

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In his previous term, Sharif’s government was able to negotiate a critical International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal but the process was mired in challenges and measures required by the agreement - which expires in April - have contributed to rising prices and added pressure on poor and middle class households.

The new government will have to immediately start talks with the IMF for the next agreement to shore up the country’s economy whilst also dealing with the growing discontent over deepening poverty. — Reuters

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