Sunday, December 4, 2022

Shehbaz sworn-in as Pakistan PM

Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was sworn-in as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan on Monday, hours after ousted premier Imran Khan’s lawmakers resigned en masse, signalling continued political instability in the coup-prone country.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administered the oath of office to 70-year-old Shehbaz in President Dr Arif Alvi’s absence, who went on ‘sick’ leave ahead of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader’s inauguration. Alvi, who belongs to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan, had dissolved the National Assembly on advise of then prime minister Khan. He was advised to continue discharging his constitutional duties by his party.
Earlier, the National Assembly elected Shehbaz as the new prime minister after his rival candidate from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Shah Mahmood Qureshi boycotted the voting to elect the premier.
“Sharif has secured 174 votes… and has been declared as prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” said Speaker Ayaz Sadiq who presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said his conscience did not allow him to conduct the session.
In the House of 342, the winning candidate should get support of at least 172 lawmakers.
Pak court defers indictment of Shehbaz, son: A Pakistani court on Monday deferred until April 27 the indictment of joint Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz in a high-profile money laundering case and also extended their pre-arrest bail till the same day, allowing the PML-N president to become the new prime minister.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) special court on Monday accepted Shehbaz’s application seeking exemption from personal appearance in court in the money laundering proceedings for one day, and extended the pre-arrest bail of the father and son for April 27 on their request, a court official told PTI after the proceedings.
PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday in a tweet had said that the FIA prosecution head Lahore had been directed not to appear before the court in Shehbaz’s case so that the indictment is delayed.
When asked a senior FIA Lahore official about Chaudhry’s allegation, he told PTI that no such direction had been made to the agency’s prosecution head.
Shehbaz and his sons were booked by FIA in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act. Suleman is absconding and residing in the UK.
FIA investigation has detected 28 benami accounts, allegedly of the Shehbaz family, through which an amount to the tune of PKR 14 billion was laundered from 2008 to 2018.

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