As God is my witness, that no single NRO will be given to any dacoit, Imran tells NA session

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan has been elected as Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister with 176 votes. He will take oath tomorrow (August 18) at 9:15am at President House.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif got 96 votes. The PPP members did not cast their votes.
“I thank the nation,” he said, “for giving me the chance to bring a change… a change that this country was waiting for, for 70 years.”
The first thing we must do is carrying out sweeping accountability. “As God is my witness, that no single NRO will be given to any dacoit.” They will all be made to bring the money back.
No military dictator reared me, he said. My father was not in politics. I did not have any experience. It has been a 22-year struggle.
The only other person who struggled like this, was my leader, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He said he would hold question time with the prime minister in the house of elected representatives. “I will appear twice a month,” he said.
He spoke of how corruption has robbed the children of Pakistan of their future. “In this country, we will a system so that we do not have to beg from any other country,” he said. “And I especially say, to the youth of this country, who made it possible for me to stand here today, that I promise I will work for their future,” he said.
“They should be proud of being Pakistanis and will never have to go abroad to look for jobs.”
The house erupted with protests from Nawaz Sharif’s supporters who cried, ‘respect the vote’ as Imran Khan spoke. Imran Khan addressed them and asked why they did not agree to investigating the electoral rigging allegations for four constituencies he had asked for in 2013.
“Why did the government not take action then,” he said, referring to the verdict of a commission that indeed, there had been rigging. “We lost the elections on 43 Punjab assembly seats with less than 3,000 votes,” he said. “The people who are accusing us of rigging the elections should tell us how I rigged the elections.”
He went on to say, “Insh Allah, my government will fix the electoral system. We will introduce a neutral umpire like I did in cricket in 1986.” He supported anyone who wanted an investigation into the election results and wanted to go to the Supreme Court.
“No one could ever blackmail me, nor can anyone,” he said. “You want to shout and scream and make a noise. You want to hold a dharna. We will give you a container.” He said he had spent four months in a sit-in protest but his political opponents wouldn’t even last a month.
He was referring to his long-drawn out protest that involved many speeches on top of shipping containers, in 2013. “Do whatever you like, but you won’t get any NRO,” he said to resounding applause from supporters. The NRO he is referring to, the National Reconciliation Ordinance, in 20017 under Pervez Musharraf which waived criminal cases against political bigwigs to allow them to return to Pakistan and go back to politics.
Earlier on, Imran Khan was all smiles after the announcement was made that he was made the prime minister.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has announced that members voting for Imran Khan would go to Lobby A, while those voting for Shahbaz Sharif would go to Lobby B. Members of the PPP did not get up.
Before the session began, women members protested in front of the speaker’s dais. They chanted ‘Vote ko izzat do’ or ‘respect the vote’.
PML-N leaders, including Shahbaz Sharif, were wearing black bands as a mark of protest. After Imran Khan spoke, Shahbaz Sharif stood up and spoke on what they considered had been rigging. “The ECP has failed to hold transparent elections in the country,” he said. “The RTS machines were shut down at 11:47 on election night.” He said it was the most controversial election in the history of Pakistan and the media was not allowed to cover it.
“Over 1.6 million votes were rejected,” he said. “A political party was targeted and over 16 thousand workers were booked in different cases.” Ballot papers were found in gutters and nullahs.
“The nation has rejected the elections. All political parties are complaining of rigging.” He demanded the formation of a parliamentary commission to probe the rigging allegations. Shehbaz Sharif also demanded a third party audit into rigging allegations. “Opposition parties will take to the streets if we are not given our rights. I urge the Speaker to immediately form a commission to probe rigging allegations,” he said.
The Speaker then requested Bilawal Bhutto to speak. This would be his first speech as an MNA.
“It is with regret that, in my maiden speech in the National Assembly, that I say that the people of Pakistan must be disappointed,” he said. He spoke of the blood that had been shed and the money that was spent on this election. And yet, there were protests from the Treasury. He said he hoped that the Speaker would put his house in order.
“I bow my head in gratitude to Almighty Allah that I have been blessed with the opportunity to address this august house,” he said. “This house is the supreme house.”
He paid tribute to his mother, shaheed Benazir Bhutto, the people who had been killed in election violence. “Mr Speaker, we have gotten used to bloody elections,” he said. “We lose lives we can never get back. The survivors never get justice.”
This is why the PPP demands a full-fledged investigation into this election cycle’s violence. “We have not learnt from history.” He said that we saw some candidates get results in two hours and some in three days. “Polling agents were kicked out across the country,” he said. “The supposed failure of the RTS system. The violations of the electoral act.” But despite the PPP’s reservations, despite having rejected the process, the party decided to be part of this house to take part in the democratic process. “And we took it upon ourselves to approach other political parties.”
He thanked the other parties to agreeing to be part of it. He said the Prime Minister should also thank the opposition parties. For if it were not for them the Speaker and PM would not be sitting where they are. The PPP has always guarded democratic rights. “We will not let anyone get away with these discrepancies. That is why they demand an investigation and join other parties in this,” he said, referring to Shahbaz Sharif’s earlier remarks.
“What has it cost Khan sahib to take this place?” he said. “We have compromised our democracy. Freedoms have been lost… We have compromised on our fundamental rights. We’ve weaponised 62 and 63. We have mainstreamed extremism. Worst of all we have taught an entire generation of Pakistanis is that might is right.”
He said the country faced many problems. “Our PM-elect has promised to deliver to a road-map in his first 100 days. I look forward to seeing how he will end poverty…”
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari congratulated Imran Khan but reminded him that he was the prime minister for all Pakistanis, including those who he had called “donkeys” and “living corpses”.
“I would like to remind the PM-elect that he is not the PM of any political party but of all Pakistanis,” he said. “I hope Khan sahib will refrain from playing the politics of extremism.” He hoped he shunned hate speech and a divisive politics.
And then, Bilawal delivered his final cutting blow: And finally I would like to congratulate the Prime Minister Select.
The PTI, which has the majority in the house, has nominated its chairperson, Imran Khan, for the post of premier. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has also filed nomination papers for the post. No other candidate has been nominated, so it will be a head to head race between Imran and Shehbaz.
Parliament has 342 seats – 272 general, 60 reserved seats for women and 10 reserved seats for minorities.
Out of the 272 general seats on which members are directly elected, 261 have been occupied. Elections were postponed on two seats while others are vacant after candidates who were elected on more than one seat decided to give these seats up.
Similarly, 59 of 60 reserved seats for women have been occupied while all 10 seats reserved for minorities have been occupied.
On Friday, 330 members will be voting to choose the country’s prime minister. The PTI has 152 seats, while it also has the support of the seven MQM members, five members of the BAP, four of BNP-Mengal, three of PML-Q, three of the GDA and one each of the AML and JWP. The PTI also claims to have the support of four independent candidates.
The PTI will need 166 votes for a simple majority. Right now, it has 176 members on its side. On the other hand, the PML-N has 81 seats and also has the support of 15 MMA members and one ANP member in the assembly.
The PPP has 54 seats in the house, however, it is still unclear whether they will be voting or not. If the PPP votes for Shahbaz, they will have 151 members supporting them. So far, if we look at the number game, it seems it will be easy sailing for the PTI.
On August 15, the PTI was also able to get their candidates Asad Qaiser and Qasim Suri elected speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly.
There were 330 votes cast of which 322 were valid. Qaiser obtained 176 votes while the opposition’s Khursheed Shah obtained 146.
Suri secured 183 votes through secret balloting, while Maulana Asad Mehmood, the opposition’s candidate for the post, got 144 votes.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman on Friday shook hand with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif prior to the National Assembly session to elect country’s next prime minister.
As soon as the former Punjab CM and PML-N president reached National Assembly to attend its session to elect country’s next Prime Minister, Imran Khan stood from his seat, walked towards Shahbaz Sharif and shook hands with him. – NNI

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