Who will be Pakistan’s PM?: Shehbaz set to cruise to victory today

Muhammad Anis
Sunday, Mar 03, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The 16th National Assembly will elect the 24th prime minister of Pakistan (Leader of the House) through division voting method on Sunday (today) at 11am.

PMLN President Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the joint candidate of seven allied parties, is a clear favourite in the one-on-one contest against Omar Ayub Khan, who is the candidate of the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq accepted the nomination papers of both candidates. Shehbaz is expected to receive over 200 votes, while Omar Ayub is likely to bag 91 or 92 votes. A candidate for prime minister’s slot requires 169 votes for election in the 336-strong National Assembly.

The SIC candidate would get the support of Mahmood Khan Achakzai of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, who has also been nominated by the SIC as its candidate for the president’s slot.

Nomination papers for Prime Minister of Pakistan/Leader of the House were submitted in the office of Secretary General of National Assembly of Pakistan.

The nomination papers in respect of MNA Shehbaz Sharif, the joint candidate of seven allied parties, were proposed by MNAs Syed Khursheed Shah, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Rana Tanvir Hussain, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf Zaman, Attaullah Tarar, Abdul Aleem Khan and seconded by MNAs Romina Khursheed Alam, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Ahsan Iqbal, Kessoo Mal Kheel Das, Anusha Rahman Khan, Hanif Abbasi and Jamal Shah Kakar.

The nomination papers of Omar Ayub Khan for the PM’s slot were proposed by MNAs Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, Asad Qaiser, Riaz Khan Fatyana, Umair Khan Niazi and seconded by MNAs Mohammad Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel, Ali Khan Jadoon, Mujahid Ali and Malik Mohammad Amir Dogar.

Later in the day, Ayub filed an application with NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, raising objections over the acceptance of Shehbaz’s nomination papers.

“Shehbaz was gifted the seat as a result of manipulation in Form 47. As per Form 45, Shehbaz had lost,” the PTI-backed candidate for the PM’s slot said in his application. He said Shehbaz was ineligible to become the prime minister. However, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq rejected the objections.

Shehbaz earlier remained in the Prime Minister’s office from April 11, 2022 to August 14, 2023 (one year and 125 days). He was elected as prime minister of Pakistan after successful no-confidence motion against the-then premier and the PTI founder.

Meanwhile, the leadership of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) has decided to stay away from the PM election process. JUIF chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman arrived in Karachi on Saturday to chair a meeting, which will be attended by his party’s leaders from all districts and tehsils of Sindh province.

PMLN Quaid Nawaz Sharif, who visited Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence along with other senior party leaders on Friday, could not get the support of the latter for the formation of the government.

Sources said the SIC parliamentarians are preparing to lodge another strong protest in the House on Sunday. They have planned to bring the portraits of PTI founder to the National Assembly hall.

Official sources said Caretaker PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar would welcome the new premier on his arrival at the Prime Minister’s House. Shehbaz had also received Kakar on his arrival at the PM House on August 14 last year. Kakar has vacated the PM House, but he would continue to perform his duties as premier till issuance of notification of the new chief executive of the country. He has been allotted a house in the Ministers Enclave.

Kakar remained the caretaker PM for the longest period of 200 days. The previous record was held by Muhammad Mian Soomro, who remained the caretaker PM from March 25, 2013 to June 4, 2013.

The PM House is getting ready to welcome the new chief executive of the country on Monday, a day after the election of premier, who is also the Leader of the House in the National Assembly. Officials said that arrangements for the presentation of a guard of honour and to welcome the new PM are being made for Monday in view of predicted clear weather after a spell of rains.

Meanwhile, PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif has nominated Khawaja Muhammad Asif as the party’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly. PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, in a letter addressed to the speaker, requested a notification in this regard.