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Business News/ News / World/  'Congratulations!' PM Modi greets Shehbaz Sharif on becoming Pakistan's PM for 2nd time

'Congratulations!' PM Modi greets Shehbaz Sharif on becoming Pakistan's PM for 2nd time

Pakistan's Shehbaz Sharif took the oath on Monday to officially become prime minister for a second time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated his Pakistani counterpart, Shehbaz Sharif after taking oath as Pakistan's new PM for a second time, nearly four weeks after an uncertain national election caused delays in the formation of a coalition government.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), PM Modi wrote, “Congratulations to @CMShehbaz on being sworn in as the Prime Minister of Pakistan."

Shehbaz Sharif on Monday officially took up office at a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential office in the nation's capital, Islamabad, a day after parliament elected him prime minister despite protests from lawmakers aligned with jailed former premier Imran Khan.

After the oath-taking ceremony, the newly-elected PM held the first meeting with his finance team and directed them to begin talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on an extended funding facility. The current agreement expires in April, Reuters reported. 

In his victory speech in the National Assembly soon after he was elected as the 24th prime minister and for a second time since 2022, the 72-year-old profusely thanked his elder brother and three-time former premier Nawaz Sharif and allies for putting their trust in him and allowing him to head a coalition government after last month's election resulted in a hung Parliament.

Sharif said his government would not allow the country to become part of some "great game" and would maintain cordial relations with neighbors based on the principles of equality.

"We will keep ties with neighbors based on equality," Shehbaz said. Shehbaz, however, raked up the Kashmir issue and equated it with Palestine. 

The February 8 election was marred by a mobile internet shutdown, arrests, and violence in its build-up, and the unusually delayed results triggered accusations that the vote was rigged.

Candidates backed by Khan gained the most seats but the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) agreed to form a coalition government. The PML-N is spearheaded by Shehbaz Sharif's elder brother, three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, but he decided not to take the prime minister's post.

The younger Sharif returns to the role he previously held until August, when parliament was dissolved to prepare for the election.

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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 10:13 AM IST
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