Pakistan New Prime Minister – Raja Pervez Ashraf
A new prime minister has been elected by members of parliament in Pakistan. Raja Pervez Ashraf is now the new prime minister as of Friday when he was elected in a bid to end the crisis which was sparked by judges ousting the previous prime minister and making demands that his would-be successor gets arrested. The appointment was rubber-stamped by the national assembly, which saw Ashraf being elected in a win totalling 211 votes in the 342-strong lower house of parliament. The predominant ruling was made by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its coalition members.
Speaker, Fehmida Mirza, announced that Ashraf has been declared to be elected as prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In one of this first acts, Ashraf, who is now 61 years of age, called on Pakistani Taliban militants to lay down their arms. He went on to say that the irresponsible behaviour of religious extremists has ruined both Islam and Pakistan. Ashraf appealed to the extremists to lay down their arms and join the ‘mainstream of life’. It is thought that something to the order of 35,000 people have been killed by terrorist acts in Pakistan since the beginning of the US-led war on the Al Qaeda which followed the 9/11 attacks. Ashraf stated that he continued to dialogue the peace with India and all other neighbouring countries including Afghanistan and Iran.
Also mentioned in this speech were promises that Ashraf would make efforts to develop cordial relations with the United States, a relationship which has experienced serious strain over the years following a US raid which killed the Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden. Adding to this strain was a blundered US air strike which left 27 Pakistani soldiers dead. Talks to re-open the Islamabad borders have stalled. NATO supply convoys in Afghanistan were denied access through the borders since the incident. At this stage, Washington has refused to issue a formal apology and has instead decided to express its regrets and offered its condolences. Ashraf did not go into the specifics of the re-opening the supply roots.
The new prime minister, the 27 ministers and 11 deputy ministers of his cabinet were sworn in later on by President Asif Ali Zardari in a ceremony at the presidency which was closely guarded. Zardari hopes that Ashraf and the new cabinet will have what it takes to see through the five-year term in office without the need for early elections. Some think at this stage though, that Ashraf represents a controversial decision. An investigation is underway in order to get to the bottom of alleged corruption whilst he served as water power minister Ashraf has also been blamed for the government’s inability to resolve an energy crisis described as ‘disastrous’. Our fingers are crossed that all goes well in this new phase for Pakistan’s politics.
This story was written by Jim Loxley, Director of road traffic accident compensation claim
specialist, My Compensation.