ISLAMABAD: Mian Nawaz Sharif was elected on Wednesday for a record third time as Pakistan’s prime minister, defeating his rivals Makhdoom Amin Fahim of PPP and Javed Hashmi of PTI.
The PML-N leader, who won 244 votes from National Assembly members, took oath of office from President Asif Ali Zardari later in the evening. Fahim bagged 42 votes while Hashmi secured 31.
Sharif’s party holds a simple majority in the 342-member lower house, which includes 190 first-time MPs and some veteran politicians, such as ex-premier Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali.
Having spent seven years in exile in Saudi Arabia during Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship, the PML-N leader is facing tough challenges, including an unrelenting Taliban and healthcare systems.
After his party won a simple majority in the May 11 elections, the 62-year-old had promised he would do all he could to steer the country out of crisis and repair Pakistan’s relations with neighbours, including Afghanistan and India.
Although he views terrorism a tough challenge for the new administration, he supports peace negotiations with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan — blamed for a spate of deadly attacks in the country and across the border in Afghanistan.
“I want to thank the people for reposing their trust in PML-N and I will reciprocate by working hard to address their problems. Their trust is an asset and strength for me,” he said after the election results were announced.
The people had proven they believed in democracy, he said in his brief speech. He also urged the United States to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and end drone attacks in the northwestern tribal region.