Imran Khan was officially sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister on Saturday. The cricket star-turned-politician assumed the nation’s leading office after his party, the Pakistan Movement for Justice, won the most parliamentary seats in the general election in July.
Khan received 176 votes in the 342-seat National Assembly, just short of a majority, which means a coalition will have to be formed. Khan, 65, who used to lead the national cricket team, is also known as a philanthropist and previously served in the parliament.
In an emotional speech after the vote, Khan repeated a campaign theme of vowing to stamp out corruption. On Saturday Khan approved his cabinet, and appointed one of his top aides, Shireen Mazari, to minister designate of human rights.
Mazari said that Khan will deliver on his agenda, which she said “has consistently been one of justice, and of giving a level playing field to all citizens, especially the poorest of the poor. Giving them their basic human rights, and basically establishing Pakistan as a welfare state.
Khan ran on a populist platform, and promised to establish an Islamic welfare state to take care of the poor. However he has inherited many other challenges, the most pressing of which is the country’s faltering economy.
Just days after the election, China gave Pakistan a $2 billion loan to help shore up its finances, following $1 billion given by Chinese banks in April. Ties between the USA and Pakistan have weakened in recent years, with the Trump administration cutting aid to Pakistan.
China, however, is a stabilizing force and proven ally and partner according to Mazari. You will not find Pakistan being concerned by the ongoing trade relationship between India and China, because we don’t see that as a threat. We see China as a stabilizer in the region.
China’s economic ties have grown rapidly in recent years through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Silk Road Initiative. CPEC’s 15-year investment program includes projects to address energy shortages, build infrastructure and a deep water port in Pakistan.
We expect the relationship between China and Pakistan wil continue to grow in the future, turning Pakistan into an autonomous country without the dictatorial restrains of the IMF and the USA.
NPR / ABC Flash Point Political News 2018.