Gillani takes oath as Pakistan’s new prime minister

March 25th, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
(Second Lead)
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, March 25 (IANS) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Tuesday administered the oath of office to Makhdoom Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), as the country’s new prime minister. Attired in a suit, Musharraf administered the oath of office to Gillani, who was wearing a traditional black sherwani in the presence of over 200 dignitaries - politicians, bureaucrats, foreign ambassadors, judges and prominent citizens.

However, other parties of the ruling coalition boycotted the oath-taking ceremony to protest Musharraf’s presence.

An official of the presidency said that over 500 invitations were sent to the leaders of the governing alliance that also includes the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Awami National Party (ANP) and other smaller parties. But none of them turned up for the ceremony.

PML-N of Nawaz Sharif had earlier announced that his party would not attend the ceremony. The party has threatened to move an impeachment motion against the president who overthrew Sharif’s elected government in 1999 in a military coup.

Nnder a cooperation agreement with the PPP once Gillani was elected premier, the bureaucracy Monday released the judges deposed and placed under house arrest by Musharraf, including former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The PPP and the PML-N have agreed to reinstate the judges within the first 30 days of the government. The PML-N says the countdown has begun.

Musharraf removed the judges Nov 3 last year after he imposed emergency in the country.

There are speculations that the new government will give Musharraf a tough time and he would not be enjoying the power he did since 1999.

“We believe his days are numbered and he would be leaving the post very soon,” PML-N leader Khawaja Asif told reporters in Islamabad.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, who are in Pakistan, are expected to meet Prime Minister Gillani Tuesday evening.

The National Assembly elected Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani Monday with a thumping majority as the new prime minister of Pakistan.

Gillani won 264 votes over 42 for opposition candidate Chaudhry Pervaiz of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid party.

In his speech after being elected prime minister, Gillani said the first 100 days’ agenda of his government would be announced after he secured the vote of confidence.

He said the agenda would address issues like price hike, load shedding, poverty, and unemployment.

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