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Three time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif takes oath as ordinary lawmaker

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Islamabad, Feb 29: Three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday took oath as an ordinary lawmaker in the 16th session of Pakistan’s National Assembly, days after giving up his bid to lead the country for a record fourth time.

A quirk of fate following the poor show in the electoral battle led Nawaz, 74, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party to abandon his claim to the prime minister’s position to his younger brother Shehbaz, 72.

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Sharif is back in Parliament after seven long years. His terms as the prime minister include the first from 1990-1993, then 1997-1999, and the last from 2013-2017, none of them for a complete five years.

Amid sloganeering, Nawaz Sharif took oath along with his brother Shehbaz.

“Historic visuals from the 16th National Assembly oath-taking ceremony!” the PML-N X handle posted along with a hashtag #MeraQuaidPhirSeAya and a 1:18 minute video.

The video showed the smiling elder Sharif entering the Parliament, then walking towards the many members of his party and shaking hands, with all the while a party song that said ‘Sher Aaya’ (Lion Nawaz Sharif has come) playing in the background.

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As per the Constitution, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly to form a government.

Independent candidates – a majority backed by 71-year-old jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party – won 93 National Assembly seats. The PML-N won 75 seats while the PPP came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has 17 seats.

That left PML-N and PPP to ally along with four smaller parties to keep Khan’s PTI out of power. As part of the arrangement, instead of Nawaz, it was Shehbaz who was to don the premier’s hat, a deal said to have the backing of the powerful military.

The nomination of Shehbaz Sharif as the next prime minister by Nawaz Sharif, who himself was eyeing the plum post for a record fourth time, had surprised many within and outside the party.

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However, the PML-N leaders and Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Mariam Nawaz, have reiterated that Nawaz Sharif is not quitting politics and he would continue to guide the party.

Ironically, a pinned post from the President PMLN’s X handle still reads: “The President of PMLN Shehbaz Sharif, during the news conference, reaffirmed that Quaid PML-N Nawaz Sharif will become the Prime Minister.” (PTI)




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