PML-N chief gets 244 votes, takes oath from Zardari
06 June, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif took the reins of the country on Wednesday in an unprecedented but tricky third term as prime minister, more than 13 years after he was ousted in a bloodless coup, jailed and finally sent into exile by now-jailed military dictator Pervez Musharraf.
Some 244 members of the total 320 present in the Lower House of the parliament endorsed Nawaz Sharif for the next chief executive of the country, before he took oath of his office from President Asif Ali Zardari at a huge ceremony attended by two former prime ministers from the PPP and a former president, besides services chiefs, diplomats and several well-known politicians and high-ranking officials.
The ceremony marked the first-ever transition of power from a democratically elected government after completion of its full five-year term to another civilian government in a country that has been ruled by all-powerful army for more than half its history since independence from Britain in 1947.
Makhdoom Amin Fahim of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) could secure only 42 votes and Javed Hashmi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) got 31 votes. Apart from PPP and the PTI, who fielded their own candidates for Leader of the House, all political parties and independent members cast their votes in favour of Nawaz Sharif. Sheikh Rasheed, however, voted for Javed Hashmi.
In his maiden speech to the lawmakers, Nawaz pledged to tackle Pakistan's 'jungle of problems', as he reaffirmed commitment of his government to restore law and order, check poverty, bridle burgeoning national debt and weed out rampant corruption. However, he made it clear that he had no 'magic wand' to resolve all issues overnight. He told lawmakers that all these goals could only be achieved if all political forces get united and strive to put the country on road to prosperity. He invited all the political parties to share his party's national agenda for steering the country out of crises.
Nawaz said his party had already laid the foundation of a progressive Pakistan by accepting the mandate of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other political parties in Balochistan. He said his government would treat all the provincial governments without any discrimination.
Nawaz said that result of the May 11 elections has proved that Pakistan and democracy are part and parcel. "Pakistan has already paid heavy price for un-constitutionalism. No more room for any adventurism,' Nawaz told the Lower House. "Now it should be crystal clear in everyone's minds that Pakistan's survival, protection, sovereignty, progress, prosperity and respect in the international community depends upon strengthening democracy in the country."
On Balochistan, Nawaz said for the first time 'true leadership' will be governing the province. He said Gwadar will be linked with China through Khanjrab Pass by rail and road network. Nawaz proposed to the provincial leadership to give special status of free port to Gwadar port.
The prime minister called for end to drone attacks by US in the tribal areas. "We respect the sovereignty of others and they should also respect our sovereignty and independence. The drone campaign should come to an end," he told the lawmakers.
Nawaz makes a new record
Nawaz Sharif has become the first person to be elected to the office of prime minister for a third time. Previously a restriction was in place that barred any candidate from holding public office for more than two terms.
The last time Nawaz Sharif was in office was 13 years, 7 months and 21 days ago. His government back then was toppled in a bloodless coup led by the Army Chief at the time, General Pervez Musharraf on 12th October 1999.
Nawaz Sharif began his political career in 1981 when he became Punjab Finance Minister, in 1985 he became Chief Minister of the province and in 1990 he was elected as prime minister for the first time.
His first government was dismissed by then President Ghullam Ishaq Khan. The Supreme Court did however reinstate Sharif's government but pressure from the Army Chief in 1993, forced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to tender his resignation.
He was elected Prime Minister for a second time in 1997 securing a heavy mandate. However due to his differences with General Jehangir Karamat, Nawaz Sharif promoted a junior officer to the post of Chief of Army Staff, and in October of 1999, that same Chief of Army Staff toppled the Sharif government, sending Nawaz Sharif first to Jail and then into exile.
Jail & Exile
After his dismissal in 1999, Nawaz Sharif was imprisoned first in Rawalpindi then shifted to Landhi Jail in Karachi, and then to the Attock Fort. He had been sentenced to life imprisonment as well as a 14 year sentence.
After mediation from rulers of friendly states, Nawaz Sharif and his family left Pakistan on the 10th of September 2000 for Saudi Arabia.
Return to Pakistan & Politics
During his years spent in exile, Nawaz Sharif met with Benazir Bhutto in London, where they signed the Charter of Democracy, which united the two largest political parties of the country against the Military dictator Pervez Musharraf.
Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan on the 25th of November 2007, where his party became part of the hung parliament following the 2008 elections, forcing the President General Pervez Musharraf to resign from office in the face of impeachment proceedings.
Nawaz Sharif's party left the PPP led government after the PML-N developed differences over the restoration of the Judges. During the same time President Zardari enforced Governor rule in the province. Nawaz Sharif then led the successful Long March responsible for the restoration of the Judiciary.
After parting ways with the PPP led government and the restoration of the Judiciary, the PML-N played its role as the opposition party in parliament. A role the PML-N fulfilled constructively till the 2013 elections.
When Nawaz Sharif had assumed the office of the Prime Minister in 1997, Pakistan faced problems, but not as serious in nature as the country faces today. His party secured more votes than analysts had expected achieving a simple majority in the house along with its allies.
Oath of Office
Prime Minister elect Nawaz Sharif will be aministed the oath of office by President Asif Ali Zardari at a ceremony to be held at the President House later in the evening.