Pakistan latest updates: Sharif promises to tackle economy

Pakistan news from April 11: New PM says economic situation ‘very serious’ but could improve with hard work and unity.

Pakistan's prime minister-elect Shehbaz Sharif
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks after winning a parliamentary election vote in the National Assembly, in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 11, 2022 [Pakistan National Assembly/Handout via Reuters]
  • Pakistan’s parliament has elected Shehbaz Sharif as the country’s new prime minister.
  • The election came after PM Imran Khan was removed from office after losing a no-confidence vote.
  • Ahead of Monday’s vote, lawmakers from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party resigned en masse, boycotting the election of Sharif.

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These were the updates on April 11:

PM vows reconciliation, reviving the economy

Sharif said his government would focus on reconciliation in a society polarised by former leader Imran Khan’s policies and reviving a troubled economy.

“The economic challenges are huge and we need to make a way out of these troubles. We will have to shed sweat and blood to revive the economy,” he said.

Good relations with India essential: Sharif

The prime minister spoke of improving relations with India, but said a durable peace “can’t be possible without Kashmir’s solution”.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the disputed Himalayan region.

Leader of the opposition Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif
Shehbaz Sharif sits in a vehicle as he arrives at the Parliament House building in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 11, 2022 [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

Sharif promises to speed up China-funded projects

Sharif said his government will speed up Beijing-backed projects in Pakistan.

The projects are being carried out under the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Pakistan heading for historical budget, trade deficits: Sharif

The newly elected prime minister said the country was on the way to posting the largest budget deficit in its history as well as historical trade and current account deficits.

In his first speech as PM, Sharif said that his new government was faced with the huge challenge of bringing the economy back on track following Khan’s mismanagement.

“The situation is very bad, but I am sure that we will change it with the blessing of Allah and with hard work,” he added.

Opposition leader Sharif elected as new PM

Pakistan’s parliament has elected Shebaz Sharif as the country’s new prime minister after 174 votes were cast in the 342-seat assembly.

“Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has been elected as prime minister,” said Acting Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

The newly elected minister will now form a new government that can remain in place until August 2023, when general elections are due.


PTI announces resignation from the National Assembly

Former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the PTI has decided to resign from the National Assembly.

“This house is going to elect a new prime minister but everyone knows he [Sharif] is being imposed and does not have the mandate of the people,” Qureshi said. “We reject this process and also announce [a] boycott of the election for Prime Minister.”

Parliament session to elect PM begins

A session of Pakistan’s parliament to elect a new prime minister has begun, capping a tumultuous week of political drama that saw the removal of PM Imran Khan and a constitutional crisis narrowly averted after the country’s top court stepped in.

The leading contender is Shehbaz Sharif, opposition legislator and brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

PTI legislator tweets resignation

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former minister for maritime affairs, Ali Haider Zaidi, has announced his resignation from the National Assembly.

Zaidi shared an image of his resignation letter on Twitter, saying the document has been submitted to party chief Imran Khan.

“No way we should legitimise this foreign funded regime change in Pakistan. The battle for the sovereignty of Pakistan will now be decided on the streets by the people, not these looters,” Zaidi posted on Twitter.

Khan’s PTI to boycott PM election?

There are speculations that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party of former PM Khan, has decided to boycott the election of a new prime minister in parliament, according to local media reports.

Khan held a meeting of his party’s legislators in the parliament but left the premises after the meeting, Geo TV reported, raising the speculations.

PTI members of parliament to resign: Report

The PTI parliamentary party has decided to resign en masse from the National Assembly, Geo TV has reported, citing sources in Imran Khan’s party.

Khan headed the meeting and told colleagues he will be the first to submit his resignation as a member of the house, the report said.

Stocks soar amid signs of political stability

The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 index has soared more than 1,500 points, with analysts attributing the rally to a potential end to weeks of political instability, the Dawn newspaper has reported.

The index opened at 44,444.58 and was up by 1541.57 points, or 3.47 percent, by 12:30pm (07:30 GMT), the report said.

“The market has responded positively to political stability,” financial analyst Tahir Abbas told Al Jazeera.

‘Can’t be part of assembly where…’

Former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, a member of Khan’s PTI party, says party legislators will resign if they lose the prime ministerial election in parliament.

“We cannot be a part of the assembly where Shehbaz Sharif is the prime minister,” Chaudhry told reporters outside the parliament building.

Who is Shehbaz Sharif?

Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the centrist Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province, seems likely to be chosen ahead of Khan loyalist Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the former foreign minister.

Sharif, 70, is the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was barred by the Supreme Court in 2017 from holding public office and subsequently went abroad for medical treatment after serving just a few months of a 10-year jail sentence for corruption charges.

Read more here.

Parliament to meet to elect new PM

Parliament’s lower house is scheduled to convene for a session to decide the new prime minister at 2pm (09:00 GMT).

No elected prime minister has completed a full term in Pakistan since it won independence from colonial Britain in 1947.

Photos: Anger on streets as Khan dismissed

Tens of thousands of supporters of deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan have marched in cities across the country, saying they want him back in power.

Khan, 69, was dismissed in the early hours of Sunday after losing a no-confidence vote, paving the way for him to be replaced by a politician from the opposition alliance.

See photos here.

Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party
Khan’s supporters rallying in Peshawar [Fayaz Aziz/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies