Pakistan’s interim prime minister is sworn in as people celebrate Independence Day


ISLAMABAD (AP) — Former Pakistani senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar was sworn in Monday as the country’s prime minister to head a caretaker government that will oversee parliamentary elections during one of the country’s worst economic crises.

Kakar, who is relatively new to politics and close to the powerful army, has represented the province of Balochistan to which he belongs in the Senate since 2018. President Arif Alvi took the oath of office to him inside a white marble palace known as the Presidency in a short ceremony.

Kakkar resigned as leader of the junior Baluchistan Awami Party on Sunday and resigned from the Senate after he was appointed by outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and opposition leader Raza Riaz to oversee voting and run the day-to-day affairs of the administration until the election of the people. new government. It is customary in Pakistan to appoint a caretaker government for the election period.

Under the constitution, elections must be held within the next 90 days.

The swearing-in came as Pakistan celebrated its 77th independence day amid deep political turmoil that began after the overthrow of former Prime Minister Imran Khan last year.

Pakistan gained its independence when the British left India and partitioned the subcontinent in 1947.

Monday’s celebrations began with gun salutes in the capital, Islamabad, and in each of the four provincial capitals. In Islamabad, President Arif Alvi hoisted the national flag in a ceremony attended by officials and dignitaries.

Security was tight across the country following several attacks over the weekend, including one in which Chinese nationals working on a construction project escaped unharmed but gunmen were killed when troops quickly returned fire in the coastal town of Gwadar in Balochistan province.

Police said that journalist Jan Muhammad Maher was killed on Sunday by gunmen while he was on his way to his home in Sukkur district in the southern province of Sindh. The motive for the killing is not clear and officers are still investigating.

In his farewell address last night to the nation, Sharif told his countrymen to “make the right decision” when they go to vote. He blamed Khan for the economic crisis the country was facing when he came to power.

Sharif replaced Khan in April 2022 when he was ousted in a vote of no confidence in Parliament.

Khan was sentenced to three years in prison in a corruption case earlier this month and is currently being held in Attock maximum security prison in the eastern Punjab province.

But he remains a popular politician, and the opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf party is expected to give Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League a tough time in the polls.

Khan is unable to participate in elections unless his conviction is overturned because no one with a criminal conviction can lead a party, stand in elections or hold public office. appeal.

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