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Business News/ News / World/  Shehbaz Sharif becomes Pakistan PM for second time, here are 3 main challenges before the coalition govt
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Shehbaz Sharif becomes Pakistan PM for second time, here are 3 main challenges before the coalition govt

Shehbaz Sharif set to be sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan for the second time, facing economic and security challenges. He won a majority in Parliament with 201 votes.

Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. (AP)Premium
Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. (AP)

Shehbaz Sharif will take the oath as Prime Minister of Pakistan on Monday, taking over the reins of the country for a second time since 2022, amidst staggering economic and security challenges faced by the country. President Arif Alvi will administer the oath to Shehbaz Sharif in a ceremony held at the President's residence in the afternoon.

The 72-year-old politician earlier served as prime minister of a coalition government from April 2022 to August 2023 before Parliament was dissolved to hold general elections last month. Pakistan Army Chief Gen Asim Munir, caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, chief ministers, and governors of all four provinces are expected to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Shehbaz on Sunday comfortably won a majority in the newly-elected Parliament amidst sloganeering by the Opposition. Shehbaz, the consensus candidate of the PML-N and the PPP, received 201 votes in the 336-member Parliament. His challenger Omar Ayub Khan of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secured 92 votes.

Take a look at Shehbaz Sharif govt's challenges below, 

Economic Crisis

Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan government is expected to face many challenges including skyrocketing inflation, unemployment, debt burden, low human capital development, and slow energy shortages as the country's development and prosperity are severely hampered by its economic instability. Pakistanis also bear the rising cost of essential items like basic food products, electricity bills, etc. 

Comprehensive changes that prioritize strengthening revenue generation, encouraging export-led growth, strengthening fiscal management, and drawing in foreign investment are necessary to address these economic obstacles. The newly-elected PM also needs to emulate his feat of securing a $3 billion IMF bailout with the current program expiring next month. 

Political Instability

Imran Khan-backed candidates did remarkably well in the general elections, securing 93 seats, despite being hit with numerous criminal charges and disqualified from holding any kind of public office. After winning 75 seats, Shehbaz Sharif's PML-N was forced to form a coalition government with the PPP, which secured 54 seats.

According to analysts, there is a lack of public trust in Shehbaz Sharif's administration. Effective governance and policymaking are hampered by fractious politics, which are typified by regular political unrest, polarization between the military and civilian establishments, and accusations of corruption. 

In addition, conflicts between the federal and provincial governments impede the execution of development projects and cogent national policies, especially in provinces like Sindh and Balochistan.

Rising Militancy

The Shehbaz Sharif administration will also have to deal with the country's worsening security situation. Attacks on Pakistan have increased by militant organizations like the Islamic State and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), particularly in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. At the border, there is also more hostility with Afghanistan.

In 2023, there were more terror attacks in Pakistan than there had been since 2016. Last year, attacks claimed the lives of about 550 security personnel and 400 civilians.

Shehbaz Sharif's administration will need to collaborate closely with Pakistan's military establishment "to deal with the surge in terrorist activity" and other security challenges, according to Maliha Lodhi, Pakistan's former UN representative.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 04 Mar 2024, 12:45 PM IST
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