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Shehbaz Sharif Set To Return As Pakistani Prime Minister Amidst Election Controversy

Pakistani politician Shehbaz Sharif is poised to reclaim the role of prime minister for the second time, following a vote by the country’s recently established parliament. The decision comes three weeks after contentious national elections led to the formation of a coalition government.

The February 8 elections were marked by controversy, including a mobile internet shutdown on election day, pre-election arrests and violence, and delayed results, fuelling allegations of rigging.

Sharif, who previously held the position until August when parliament was dissolved ahead of the elections, will resume his duties as prime minister.

The parliamentary vote, occurring amidst heightened security measures, follows protests by candidates supported by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who have contested the election results and demanded Khan’s release from jail.

At 72 years old, Shehbaz Sharif is the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, leading their Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s election campaign.

Despite candidates supported by Khan securing the most seats, the PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party formed a coalition government, facilitating Shehbaz Sharif’s election as prime minister.

During his previous tenure, Sharif’s government navigated a crucial International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal, albeit amidst challenges. However, the measures required by the agreement, set to expire in April, have contributed to mounting economic pressures, including rising prices and strain on low and middle-income households.

The incoming government faces the immediate task of negotiating a new IMF agreement to stabilize the country’s economy, all while addressing growing discontent over worsening poverty.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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