ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani administering oath to Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, here at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Monday. - PID photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has been elected as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan.
The voting for the leader of the house was held in the National Assembly on Monday. Announcing the results, Presiding Officer Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that Shehbaz Sharif secured 174 votes. No vote was polled in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Delivering his maiden speech at the National Assembly on Monday after his election to the top slot of the country, Prime Minister-elect Shehbaz Sharif announced a number of relief measures for the low-income people, including a ten percent raise for pensioners from this month.
He said he would also appeal to the business community to increase the ten percent salary of their employees drawing less than Rs100,000 per month with effect from this month. The prime minister-elect also announced to increase minimum wages up to Rs25,000 per month.
He said that Benazir Card will be revived and extended linking it with education. He said the youth will be provided skills and technical education to become useful citizens of the country. Sharif also announced provision of subsidised flour under the Ramazan package.
The prime minister-elect said people have been suffering a lot due to high inflation and unemployment.
During the last government, he claimed that six million people became unemployed and 20 million were pushed below the poverty line.
He said the total debt of Pakistan was Rs25,000 billion till 2018, but during the last three and a half years, Rs20,000 billion were added to the total debt of the country. Shehbaz Sharif expressed confidence that the situation will improve in days to come through hard-work of the new government.
He said as “Khadim-e-Pakistan,” he would do his best to bring the country out of crises. He said he would take all the provinces along in his efforts for the progress of the country. He said, “We will have to set aside mutual differences and move forward with consensus.”
The prime minister-elect announced to arrange at the earliest an in-camera briefing for the Parliamentary Committee on Security on the matter of a letter received by the last government from a Pakistani ambassador about an alleged foreign conspiracy for regime change.
He said the services chiefs, DG ISI, the foreign secretary and the ambassador concerned will be invited to the briefing. Sharif said the facts about this much hyped issue will be brought before the nation.
Referring to foreign policy, he said relations will be further strengthened with all friendly countries including China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey. He said Pakistan’s relations with China are time tested as Beijing has always supported Pakistan in the hour of need. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor mega project will be implemented at “Pakistan Speed.”
The prime minister-elect said Saudi Arabia is our brotherly Islamic country that has always extended cooperation in difficult times. He said Afghanistan is a neighbouring country facing difficult times. He said that Pakistan will raise its voice for assistance of the people of Afghanistan.
Sharif said the European Union is the biggest destination of Pakistani textile exports as fifty percent of Pakistan’s textile goods go to European countries. He expressed the confidence that GSP Plus status for Pakistan will be renewed. He said the United Kingdom has always backed democracy in Pakistan, and he will try his best to further strengthen Pakistan’s relations with the UK.
Talking about relations with the United States, Shehbaz Sharif said, “We want a relationship with Washington at an equal level. Our trade with the United States is worth billions of dollars.”
He said Pakistan wants good neighbourly relations with India, but durable peace is not possible without resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions. He said Pakistan will continue extending its moral, diplomatic and political support to the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He also assured Palestinians to raise their voice for their right to self-determination for the resolution of the Palestine issue. – TLTP