Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Saturday took oath as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan at a ceremony held at President House in Islamabad, Dawn reported. The leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party was elected to the post on Friday, three weeks after his party won the maximum number of seats in the country’s National Assembly elections.
High-profile guests such as interim Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi were present at the ceremony.
Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was seen greeting General Bajwa, and former Pakistan cricketers Rameez Raja and Wasim Akram also attended the event. Khan, 65, had joined politics in 1996, four years after he captained Pakistan to its only victory in the Cricket World Cup.
The ceremony started with the national anthem, after which the cabinet secretary sought President Mamnoon Hussain’s permission to start the ceremony. After a recitation from the Holy Quran, the oath was administered and documents signed, Geo TV reported.
In the National Assembly on Friday, Khan won 176 votes, while his opponent, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Shahbaz Sharif, won only 96. As many as 172 votes were needed for a majority.
The House erupted with chants of “unacceptable” after Speaker Asad Qaiser announced the results. The Pakistan People’s Party boycotted the vote, but its Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attended the session.
On August 10, Khan met Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria to discuss bilateral relations. A statement released by the party said Khan “discussed the need to restart dialogue between Pakistan and India on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir”.