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Ashraf elected as new prime minister of Pakistan

23rd June 2012 | 2.141 Views
Islamabad (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Pakistan`s National Assembly, lower house of parliament, on Friday elected with a clear majority, Raja Pervez Ashraf, as the country`s new prime minister.

Ashraf, leader of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), replaced Yusuf Raza Gilani, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan over contempt charges earlier this week, to become the 25th prime minister of the country.

Ashraf secured 211 votes in the 342-member house while his rival Mehtab Khan Abbasi from the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) bagged 89 votes, Speaker National Assembly Fahmida Mirza, who chaired the special session, announced the result of the voting.

Pervez Ashraf in his maiden speech in the National Assembly promised good governance, end to corruption and maintaining cordial relations with neighbors.

He also asked the militants to give up arms and join the national mainstream of society.

PPP nominated Ashraf as a new candidate for the prime minister slot on Friday, a day after a local anti-narcotics court issued an arrest warrant for its first choice Makhdoom Shahabuddin.

Ashraf had been Minister for Information Technology in the cabinet of Gilani until Tuesday when it was dissolved. He had served as Minister for Water and Power from March 2008 to 2011.

The main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif described the election of Raja Pervez Ashraf as prime minister "not less than a tragedy for the country."

Talking to the media at Nawabshah airport in Sindh province on Friday, he questioned the government`s nominee by saying "why the government brings forward ill-reputed persons. I feel ashamed even of talking names of such persons."

Political analysts held that President Zardari chose Pervez Ashraf as the new prime minister because Ashraf was considered loyal to the president and PPP party and will work in line with Zardari`s instructions.

They said Zardari chose Ashraf, a native from Punjab province, also because PPP wants to expand political influence in the stronghold of the opposition PML-N of Nawaz Sharif ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. (*)