PM-elect Imran Khan has taken oath as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan at a ceremony being held at the President House.
Khan, who outvoted opposition and PML-N candidate Shahbaz Sharif in the PM’s election on Friday, was administered his oath by President Mamnoon Hussain. The oath-taking ceremony, which was scheduled to begin at 9:30am, started a little after 10am.
Clad in a black sherwani, the prime minister-elect arrived at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad from his Banigala residence. His wife Bushra Imran had already arrived for the ceremony.
The ceremony commenced with the national anthem, followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran.
High-profile guests including caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi are present at the ceremony.
Other notable guests present at the Aiwan-e-Sadr include senior PTI leaders, former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu, cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja, legendary paceman Wasim Akram, newly elected Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, singers Salman Ahmed and Abrarul Haq, actor Javaid Sheikh and former National Assembly speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza.
The invited guests, which include politicians, cricketers and celebrities, were told to be at the venue at 9:15am. The event was scheduled to begin at 9:30am.
Khan, who famously captained the national cricket team to World Cup glory in 1992, has also invited some of his former teammates to witness his formal ascension to the top ministerial job in the country.
According to the programme outlined on the invitation cards, the ceremony will begin with the national anthem, following which the cabinet secretary will seek permission from the president to commence the ceremony.
Next up will be recitation (tilawat) of the Holy Quran, after which the oath will be administered and documents signed.
The guest have been asked to carry their NIC or accreditation cards but not to bring with them any handbags, purses, mobiles phones or any other electronic gadgetry.
The work begins
After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the biggest parliamentary party in the wake of the July 25 polls, all 120 of the party’s parliamentary committee members rubber-stamped Khan’s candidacy for the post of the prime minister.
The party formed enough alliances and recruited enough independents to gain the numbers required to get Khan elected as the PM in Friday’s parliamentary vote.
Khan and his party campaigned on promises to end widespread graft while building an “Islamic welfare state”.
“First of all, we will start strict accountability. I promise to my God that everyone who looted this country will be made accountable,” he said in his speech as PM-elect on Friday.
PTI candidates were also voted speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly this week, putting Khan in a strong position to carry forward his legislative agenda.
He will face myriad challenges including militant extremism, water shortages, and a booming population negating growth in the country, among others.
Most pressing is a looming economic crisis, with speculation that Pakistan will have to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
Khan will also have to contend with the same issue as many predecessors: how to maintain a power balance in civil-military relations.