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Pak Assembly to elect new PM tomorrow

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali sees off Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali (left) sees off Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who has been nominated for the post of Prime Minister, after a meeting in Islamabad on Sunday. — AP/PTI photo

Islamabad, June 27
A special session of Pakistan’s National Assembly has been convened on June 29 to endorse the nomination of Mr Shujat Hussain as Prime Minister after which he would be sworn in by President Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who resigned as Prime Minister yesterday following differences with Mr Musharraf, had announced Mr Hussain’s name to replace him at the Parliamentary party meeting of the ruling PM (Q).

Mr Hussain, who is the president of PML(Q), later said he would hold the post for an interim period until the present Finance Minister Shoukat Aziz gets elected to the lower house to replace him.

A special session of the National Assembly has been convened for June 29 to enable Mr Hussain to get elected. He would file his nomination papers for the post tomorrow and prove his majority on Tuesday.

The change of guard at the top yesterday was apparently aimed at following the current Indian model, where reputed economist, Mr Manmohan Singh, is the Prime Minister.

Mr Aziz, a former City Bank executive turned Finance Minister is a closed confidant of Mr Musharraf and has close links with IMF and the World Bank.

Mr Hussain, who served as Home Minister in the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet, said he would hold the post for an interim period until Mr Aziz gets elected to the lower house.

“I shall continue as Prime Minister till Mr Shaukat Aziz is elected member National Assembly because the Constitution does not provide for election of a Senator as Prime Minister,” Mr Hussain said yesterday.

“Mr Aziz is the most appropriate candidate for Prime Ministership,” he said and hoped, under his leadership the country would make rapid progress.

Mr Hussain, who addressed the press conference along with Mr Aziz, however, said he cannot be referred as interim Prime Minister as there is no mention of ‘interim period’ and “my election as Prime Minister would be according to the Constitution.” Denying reports of confusion and back door manoeuvring for the Prime Minister’s post, Mr Hussain said for the first time, the change of government has been completed peacefully and without any dispute.

He also declined to go into reasons that lead to the exit of Mr Jamali. “I do not want to go into the details,” he said adding that for the last many days, there was confusion in the party about Prime Ministership, therefore, with this peaceful change of power, the confusion has ended. Asked if Mr Aziz would contest from the Parliamentary constituency in Punjab to be vacated by the Defence Minister Rao Sikender Iqbal, Mr Hussain said he could contest from anywhere in the country. According to media reports, Mr Iqbal a former loyalist of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who later defected to Mr Musharraf’s camp, has been offered the post of Governor to one of the four provinces.

Mr Aziz, who was present in the press conference, said he would take along all the elected members and allied parties to achieve the goals of development and peoples’ welfare.

He said Pakistan has the potential to achieve progress and prosperity like China, Malaysia and Thailand with effective economic policies and the budget for 2004-05 is a way forward to achieve the economic goals.

Mr Aziz said there was need to move forward and achieve the status of a developed and prosperous nation.

“We shall assure that Pakistan becomes a developed nation and the Muslim Ummah too feels proud of its development,” he said. — PTI 

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