In an apparent slip of tongue, Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq on Monday pronounced the name of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif instead of Shehbaz Sharif during the crucial session to elect Imran Khan’s successor and apologised for his mistake.
Mr Sadiq, ahead of conducting the voting in the National Assembly to elect the next prime minister, read a document containing the name of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif.
The Speaker, however, said the name of Nawaz Sharif who is in London.
After realising that he had pronounced the wrong name, Mr Sadiq accepted the mistake and apologised, saying the PML-N supremo was “in his heart as well as in his mind”.
In the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, a couple of PML-(N) lawmakers and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz were seen holding portraits of Nawaz Sharif to show their support.
After the voting, Shehbaz Sharif, 70, was elected unopposed as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan by Parliament after rival candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will boycott the voting and staged a walkout.
Shehbaz Sharif received 174 votes – two more than the simple majority of 172. He is the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif is expected to return from London next month after Eid, senior PML-N leader Mian Javed Latif said, adding that a decision on the three-time prime minister’s anticipated return will be discussed with the coalition partners. Eid will be celebrated in the first week of May.
Several corruption cases had been launched by the government of ex-prime minister Khan against the 72-year-old supremo of the PML-(N) since his ouster from the office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case.
Nawaz Sharif in November 2019 left for London after the Lahore High Court granted him a four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment.
He had given an undertaking to the Lahore High Court to return to Pakistan, citing his record to face the process of law and justice within four weeks or as soon as he is declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors.
Nawaz Sharif was also given bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven-year imprisonment in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)