Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pro-Pervez Jamali new Pak PM

Islamabad, November 21
As expected, Mr Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, a loyalist of President Pervez Musharraf, was today elected Prime Minister in a Parliamentary vote, paving the way for an elected government for the first time in three years after the military ruler grabbed power in a coup in 1999.

The election held amid stormy debate over President Musharraf’s presidency and constitutional amendments. Mr Jamali, sponsored by the pro-military alliance got 172 votes defeating Mr Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Islamic religious party alliance Muthahida Majlis-e Amal (MMA) and candidate of the PPP Shah Mahmud Qureshi.

Pro-Taliban candidate Fazlur Rehman secured 86 votes while Mr Qureshi got 70 votes in an election held with speaker Amir Hussain pressing for a division. In all, 328 members voted and one abstained.

The election of Mr Jamali, who will be the 19th Prime Minister, was a forgone conclusion as the MMA had bagged the posts of speaker and deputy speaker of the national assembly in elections held on Tuesday.

In today’s elections the members voted their choice by indicating their preference to the assembly officials.

The election process was televised live. Those who voted for Mr Jamali included 10 members of the PPP headed by Ms Benazir Bhutto. They were seen being pursued in the last minute by their party colleagues to vote for Mr Qureshi.

Most of the smaller parties and independents, except cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, voted for Mr Jamali. Imran along with 19 members of the PML-N, headed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif voted for MMA candidate Rehman.

One member, Muhammad Achakzai of Baluchistan National Party declined to vote, while another member refused to take oath without official clarification from the speaker about the status of General Musharraf’s Constitutional amendments. The member said he was opposed to amendments.

Mr Jamali born in 1944 is considered to be a lightweight in Pakistan politics. A former chief selector of the Pakistan hockey team, he hails from Jamli tribe in the Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan. He is the first politician to get elected as Prime Minister from Baluchistan, which is considered to be the smallest of Pakistan’s four provinces.

He shot into prominence after winning the elections to the Baluchistan assembly in 1977 on PPP ticket. PTI

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