ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan was sworn in on Saturday as the country’s 22nd Prime Minister in a ceremony devoid of opposition leaders.
President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of PM Office to Imran at the President’s House, marking the dissolution of the interim government at the Centre.
The ceremony, heralding the third consecutive democratic transition in the country’s history, was attended by as many as 500 guests, including interim Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, members of his cabinet, parliamentarians, chiefs of the three armed forces, foreign diplomats, senior bureaucrats and former Pakistani cricketers.
Imran was elected prime minister after securing 176 votes against opposition’s candidate Shehbaz Sharif, who bagged 96 votes on Friday.
After the conclusion of the ceremony, PM Imran arrived at the PM House and was presented a guard of honour by a contingent of the Pakistan Army. Imran was later introduced to the staff members.
Clad in an ill-fitting black Sherwani, Imran arrived at the President House at 9:45am where he held a brief meeting with President Mamnoon.
Later, he was quickly updated by the president’s protocol officers about the ceremony.
Bushra Maneka seated at the oath taking ceremony.
Although the protocol staff had ensured that PM-elect read the text of his oath before formally pronouncing it in the ceremony, Imran stumbled over unfamiliar Urdu words.
On occasions, President Mamnoon repeated the words, correcting them, mispronounced by the PM-elect.
The PM-elect’s face was adorned with a shy smile, who appeared visibly overjoyed throughout the ceremony.
On one occasion, he even laughed when he mispronounced a word in the oath and was corrected by President Mamnoon.
A similar situation arose during the guard of honour ceremony: his military secretary had to hastily intervene when he swung his head away to gaze something at his back.
First Lady Bushra Imran also attended the ceremony, sitting in the first row next to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. This was her first public appearance since her marriage with Imran earlier this year. Later, Imran and the first lady met with the participants and received greetings.
The first lady was completely draped in a white outfit in addition to wearing a veil.
A special invitee from India, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, film star Javed Sheikh and most members of the Pakistan’s 1992 cricket world cup squad also attended the ceremony.
Imran had a cup of tea with a group of up to 35 individuals, including his wife, PTI’s women lawmakers, former cricketers and other senior party leaders.
Representatives of PTI’s allied parties also attended the ceremony.
Later, the Cabinet Division issued a notification about the swearing in of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
First day at work
Shortly after receiving the guard of honour at the PM House, Imran rushed to the PM Office where he spent almost six hours.
In the evening, he departed for his residence in Bani Gala.
The first directive issued by Prime Minister Imran was to appoint his most-trusted bureaucrat Muhammad Azam as the secretary to the prime minister.
Azam is a BPS-21 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service, who in the recent past served as additional chief secretary and subsequently as the chief secretary of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
At the PM Office, Imran was accompanied by senior party leaders, including Jahangir Khan Tareen, Asad Umar, Naeemul Haque and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Talks over the next PTI federal cabinet were also held there. Later, Imran approved the cabinet’s composition.
Meetings regarding the formation of cabinets in Punjab and K-P were also held separately at the PM Office.