Shehbaz Sharif -- the 70-year-old brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the leader of opposition PML-N -- has been elected unopposed as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, succeeding Imran Khan, who was removed by a no-trust vote on Saturday. Ahead of the election of the new Prime Minister, Imran Khan resigned as a member of the National Assembly, saying he will not sit in the assemblies with "thieves". His party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, boycotted the voting and staged a walkout before resigning en masse, effectively ending any opposition to Mr Sharif's election.
The PTI had fielded Shah Mahmood Qureshi as its Prime Ministerial candidate.
But minutes before the session, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said all PTI lawmakers will resign from the National Assembly and not become part of any government which was being formed under a "foreign agenda", The reference was to Mr Khan's allegation that the US was involved in a conspiracy with the opposition to topple his government.
The decision, Mr Chaudhry said, was taken at a meeting of lawmakers of the party ahead of prime ministerial elections.
"A man who has one corruption case of 16 billion rupees and another corruption case of 8 billion rupees against him...for that person to be selected and elected as the Prime Minister, there cannot be a bigger insult to the country. We are resigning from the National Assembly," Imran Khan was quoted as saying by PTI's official Twitter account.
In his maiden speech as the Prime Minister in the National Assembly, Mr Sharif said if Imran Khan's claims of foreign conspiracy proves correct, he "will go home". "Pakistan will celebrate this day," he added.
Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz and Suleman Shehbaz -- have been named in a high-profile money laundering case in November 2020. Suleman is residing in the UK.
Earlier today, a Pakistani court deferred the indictment of Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz until April 27 and gave an extension on their anticipatory bail, allowing the PML-N chief to become the new Prime Minister.
The no-trust vote against the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was held in the National Assembly late on Saturday night. The Opposition had mustered 174 votes to oust Imran Khan, who became the first Prime Minister to be removed by a no-trust vote.
The process of electing the new leader of the house began on Sunday. The nomination papers of Shehbaz Sharif were accepted by the National Assembly Secretariat after objections raised by the PTI – that he is involved in several court cases -- were rejected.