Imran Khan has been sworn in as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan.
The ceremony commenced this morning with the playing of the national anthem, followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran. A visibly overwhelmed Khan, clad in a traditional sherwani, smiled as he followed the oath in Urdu which was administered to him by President Mamnoon Hussain.
PM Khan swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan,” and to “discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly, to the best of my ability… and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan.”
The ceremony marked an end to decades of rotating leadership between the ousted PML-N and the PPP, punctuated by periods of military rule.
As the swearing-in ceremony concluded, Khan was ushered to Prime Minister House, where he was presented a guard of honour by contingents from Pakistan’s three armed forces.
After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the biggest parliamentary party in the wake of the July 25 polls, all 120 of the party’s parliamentary committee members had rubber-stamped Khan’s candidacy for the post of the prime minister.
The party formed enough alliances and recruited enough independents to gain the numbers required to get Khan elected as the PM in Friday’s parliamentary vote.
Khan and his party campaigned on promises to end widespread graft while building an “Islamic welfare state.”
“First of all, we will start strict accountability. I promise to my God that everyone who looted this country will be made accountable,” he said in his speech as PM-elect on Friday.
PTI candidates were also voted speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly this week, putting Khan in a strong position to carry forward his legislative agenda.
He will face myriad challenges, including internal violence, water shortages, and a booming population growth.
Most pressing is a looming economic crisis, with speculation that Pakistan will have to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund or China.
Khan will also have to contend with the same issue as many predecessors: how to maintain a power balance in civil-military relations.