New Delhi: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan today took oath as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister, nearly 22 years after the former cricket hero entered politics. Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu was also among the special guests invited by Khan’s team to attend the ceremony.
Khan, 65, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was administered the oath of office by President Mamnoon Hussain at a simple ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad.
The ceremony commenced with the national anthem, followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Clad in a black sherwani, Khan was seen as little nervous as he faced difficulties in pronouncing some Urdu words during the oath.
Khan, who famously captained the national cricket team to World Cup glory in 1992, has also invited some of his former teammates to witness his formal ascension to the top ministerial job in the country.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja, former paceman Wasim Akram were among the special guests present at the ceremony.
Sidhu was seated next to the ‘president’ of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Masood Khan according to media reports.
With this, Imran Khan’s government has become the third consecutive democratic government in Pakistan since 2008 when military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf announced elections after serving as president from 2001 to 2008 following a bloodless coup in 1999.
Khan was formally elected as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister yesterday after he defeated veteran politician Shahbaz Sharif in a one-sided election in the National Assembly.
The election for the top post became just a formality after the Pakistan People’s Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with 54 seats abstained from voting following a rift over Sharif’s candidature.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI chairman Imran Khan secured 176 votes while his only rival and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shehbaz Sharif got 96 votes.
A total of 172 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament were needed to form a government.