ISLAMABAD: PPP stalwart Raja Pervez Ashraf has been declared the new prime minister of Pakistan after the members of the National Assembly convened to vote for the new premier on Friday. Ashraf won the elections by 211 votes.
Ashraf’s competing candidate Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, from Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) lost with 89 votes. Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s (JUI-F) Fazlur Rehman was the third candidate, but he withdrew his nomination as soon as the National Assembly session began.
According to sources, Ashraf is expected to take oath as the prime minister later tonight, and the new cabinet will consist of the same members as the previous one.
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Members of National Assembly as well as President Asif Ali Zardari congratulate Ashraf on becoming the new prime minister. Ashraf expected to take oath later tonight.
MNAs shower rose petals on Ashraf during the session.
Counting of votes concludes. Raja Pervez Ashraf declared new prime minister with 211 votes.
Mehtab Abbasi got 89 votes.
All votes have now been cast. Faisal Saleh Hayat of the PML-Q was the last MNA to cast a vote. Hayat, who had earlier said that he will not be a minister if Raja Pervez Ashraf becomes the prime minister, voted for Ashraf, Express News reported.
Counting of votes has begun.
PML-Q parliamentary leader Faisal Saleh Hayat refuses to cast his vote, while Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has requested him to do so, reported Geo News.
Express News, however, reports that all PML-Q members are casting their votes.
Geo News reports that the opposition has begun chanting slogans of “What was the price?” in the National Assembly. The slogans are apparently targeting Maulana Fazlur Rehman over his withdrawal.
Raja Pervez Ashraf is going up to the seated MNAs in order to greet them. He has also met the MNAs of the ruling party and the opposition.
According to sources, members of the previous cabinet will continue to serve as ministers in the new cabinet.
Sources claim that Pervaiz Elahi will be made a senior minister, and he will be the only PML-Q member to take oath as a minister.
Voting has begun in the National Assembly.
Those members voting in favour of Raja Pervez Ashraf have been asked to proceed to Lobby A (right side of the speaker) and those in favour of Mehtab Abbasi to Lobby B (on the left side).
Express News correspondent reports that the Speaker has ordered that all doors of the hall be shut.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced that his party will not vote in the prime minister elections due to the current political scenario. “We are withdrawing our nomination.”
After the speaker briefed the assembly on the procedure of the elections and how all MNAs will cast their votes, Maulana Fazlur Rehman was given another chance to speak.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman appealed to the Speaker to adjourn the session, but PPP leader Naveed Qamar said that according to tradition, a normal session can be adjourned, but this was not a “normal session”. As soon as Qamar said that today’s session was not a normal one, all other MNAs laughed and sneered at him.
Speaker decided to continue with the session. “It is a very important session. We will go ahead with it.”
PML-Likeminded leader Humayan Akhtar announced that six Likeminded members will not attend the NA session.
The National Assembly session, chaired by Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, has begun.
PML-N has support from five PML-Q likeminded members, announced Chaudhry Nisar, and added that the party will try its best to win the elections.
Earlier, PPP MNA Syed Nasir Ali Shah had said that he will boycott the National Assembly session.
Sources tell Geo News that PML-Likeminded will boycott the prime minister elections.
Express News correspondent Khalid Mehmood reports that PML-N has still not decided whether it wants to attend the NA session or not. Some PML-N members want to boycott the session or stage a protest, while others are willing to attend it, Mehmood further reported.
Geo News reports that the family of Raja Pervez Ashraf has also arrived at the National Assembly.
PML-N’s parliamentary party session comes to an end.
Ashraf meets National Assembly members who congratulate him on his nomination.
Qamar Zaman Kaira and Makhdoom Shahahuddin have withdrawn their nomination papers.
Express News reports that Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that he will not be supporting any other party because no one supported him.
PPP sources have said that the new prime minister and the cabinet will take oath tonight.
Five members of the PML-Q Like-Minded group are also attending PML-N’s parliamentary party session.
Express News correspondent Muhammad Bilal reported that Ashraf, on arrival in the National Assembly, avoided media questions regarding the ongoing energy crisis and regarding writing a letter to Swiss authorities in NRO verdict implementation case.
A parliamentary session of the PML-N is currently underway under the chairmanship of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who is also the Leader of the Opposition.
All three candidates, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Mehtab Abbasi and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, have arrived in the National Assembly.
Sources say that JUI-F might not cast votes during the prime minister elections in the National Assembly.
A parliamentary party session of PPP and coalition parties is underway.
During the session, the coalition parties decided to vote for PPP’s candidate Ashraf.