Islamabad: Nawaz Sharif, who was Wednesday sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister after spending nearly 14 years in political wilderness, vowed to resolve the country’s acute energy crisis and asked the US to stop drone strikes in the northwest tribal region.
The oath of office was administered by President Asif Ali Zardari, making Nawaz Sharif the first third-time prime minister in the history of the country.
In his maiden speech shortly after his election by parliament, 63-year-old Nawaz Sharif said: “We respect the sovereignty of other countries and they should also reciprocate us.”
“We all have to devise a common strategy to overcome this issue also,” he said of the drone attacks that have bugged all Pakistani parties.
The US frequently used pilotless aircraft to launch missile attacks on what it said were the hideouts of militants blamed for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistan insists that the US drone strikes are counter-productive and cause civilian casualties.
Nawaz Sharif won the prime minister’s slot by securing 244 of the total 317 votes cast in Wednesday’s poll, reported Xinhua.
Of Nawaz Sharif’s two rivals, Makhdoom Amin Fahim of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) secured 42 votes and Javed Hashmi, of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party, bagged 31 votes.
Sharif required 172 votes in the 342-member National Assembly. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won 186 seats in the May 11 general elections and he also received support from other parties and independent members.
“A comprehensive plan has also been finalized to resolve the issue of power load-shedding and other problems of the country,” Nawaz Sharif told the National Assembly.
Pakistan faces power shortage of thousands of megawatts, which has badly affected the country’s economic activities. Analysts say that the outgoing ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) suffered defeat as it could not solve the power problem, reported Xinhua.
Corruption will not be tolerated at any level and those found involved in it will be made accountable, Nawaz Sharif said. He said corrupt elements will have to face harsh accountability.
Sharif becomes Pakistan’s first ever leader to serve as prime minister for the third time following the victory of his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) in the May 11 general elections.
He has already served as prime minister for two non-consecutive terms — the first from Nov 1, 1990, to July 18, 1993, and the second from Feb 17, 1997, to Oct 12, 1999.
Nawaz Sharif was sent into exile in 2000 by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf following the dismissal of his elected government in October 1999.
One of the main tasks of Sharif’s government will be presentation of the new budget in the coming few days as Pakistan’s new financial year begins from July 1.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.