Imran Khan to be sworn in as prime minister Saturday

Published: August 17, 2018 19:07:26 | Updated: August 18, 2018 21:57:33


Former cricket star Imran Khan has been elected prime minister of Pakistan in a vote at the country's National Assembly.

His PTI party won the most seats in July's elections - setting up Mr Khan to become PM with the help of small parties, more than two decades after he first entered politics.

He will be sworn in on Saturday, reports BBC.

Mr Khan, 65, will inherit a country with a mounting economic crisis and he has vowed to create a "new Pakistan".

The charismatic sports star, who captained Pakistan to a World Cup victory in 1992, has long shed his celebrity playboy image and now styles himself as a pious, populist, anti-poverty reformer.

He ran on an anti-corruption platform that pledged to improve the lives of the country's poor with an "Islamic welfare state".

In Friday's vote, Mr Khan was backed by 176 members. His opponent, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif, received 96 votes.

Before the election Mr Khan told the BBC that if he were to be elected, his initial focus would be on the economy. Pakistan's currency, the rupee, has declined significantly in the last year. Inflation is on the rise and the trade deficit is widening.

Exports such as textiles have taken a hit from cheaper products by regional competitors, including China. Analysts say the new government may need to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the country's second bailout since 2013, which could complicate efforts to boost welfare.

After the 25 July election, Mr Khan also vowed to hold talks with India to seek a resolution to the dispute over the Kashmir region, a key flashpoint between the nuclear-armed countries.

He also called for "mutually beneficial" ties with the United States, despite being an outspoken critic of that country's anti-terrorism measures in the region, such as drone strikes. US President Donald Trump recently cut aid to Pakistan, accusing it of providing a "safe haven" to terrorists active in neighbouring Afghanistan.

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