Pak stock market celebrates as Shehbaz Sharif is elected 23rd prime minister


Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) president Shehbaz Sharif was elected Pakistan’s twenty-third prime minister Monday with 174 lawmakers in the 342-member National Assembly voting in favor. Members of ousted premier Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf boycotted the election.

PTI members walked out of the assembly with former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was their candidate for the top post, announcing that they would be resigning collectively from the country’s parliament.

PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said his conscience would not allow him to conduct the session.

Announcing the results, Sadiq reminisced that he had chaired the session at which PML-N supremo and Shehbaz’s elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, was elected prime minister. “And today, I have the honor of chairing the session for Shehbaz Sharif’s election,” he said.

“Mian Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif has secured 174 votes,” he announced. “Mian Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif has been elected the prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

Lawmakers greeted the announcement with slogans in favor of Shehbaz and Nawaz Sharif. The speaker then asked Shehbaz to move to the seat of the prime minister and he moved to the treasury benches amid cheers, with other members of the former joint opposition following suit.

Shehbaz said it was the first time in Pakistan’s history that a no-confidence motion against a prime minister had succeeded. “Good has prevailed over evil,” he said.

The new prime minister added that it was a “big day” for the country when a “selected” prime minister was sent packing in a legal and constitutional manner. He said the US dollar’s value declining by Rs8 signified the “happiness of the people”. He also thanked the Supreme Court of Pakistan for burying the doctrine of necessity forever. “In the future, no one will be able to rely on it,” he said.

Pakistan’s stock market responded by posting a historic single-day gain in the Karachi Stock Exchange 100 index. The bulls dominated trading at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) as the benchmark KSE-100 index rallied, gaining 1,700 points on the back of the easing of political turmoil.

A report from Topline Securities noted that the PSX made history with the KSE-100 posting a record single-day gain in terms of points. “KSE-100 index today gained 1,700 points in a single day to close at 46,145, breaching two barriers, 45,000 and 46,000, which is a new record,” it stated.

The index broke the previous record of 1,566 attained on June 5, 2017, as traders rejoiced over the rare smooth handover of power despite last night’s protests in several cities by supporters of the ousted prime minister, Geo News reported.

The protests took place from about 9.30 pm in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Malakand, Multan, Khanewal, Khyber, Jhang, Quetta, Okara, Abbottabad, Bajaur, Lower Dir, Shangla, Kohistan, Mansehra, Swat, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Nowshera, Dera Ghazi Khan and Mandi Bahauddin, Dawn reported.

Taking to Twitter late Sunday, Khan thanked those who turned out in his support. “Thank you to all Pakistanis for their amazing outpouring of support and emotion to protest against US-backed regime change abetted by local Mir Jafars to bring into power a coterie of pliable crooks all out on bail. Shows Pakistanis at home and abroad have emphatically rejected this,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, before the protests were staged, he had tweeted: Pakistan became an independent state in 1947; but the freedom struggle begins again today against a foreign conspiracy of regime change. It is always the people of the country who defend their sovereignty and democracy.

In Islamabad, the protest started from the city’s Zero Point, leading to a traffic snarl at the Srinagar Highway. Meanwhile, a large number of Khan’s supporters, including women and children, turned up at the Peshawar Press Club and chanted slogans against the opposition.

In Lahore, a rally moved towards the city’s Liberty Chowk, with people shouting slogans against the U.S. The protest in Karachi was held on the Rashid Minhas Road where a large number of supporters were in attendance.

Besides Pakistan, protests were staged in Dubai and London’s Hyde Park.

The stock market also took a cue from the State Bank of Pakistan governor’s assurance that timely measures would be taken to ensure economic stability.

Clarity on the political front after Imran Khan’s removal and diminishing concerns over the negative repercussions of political uncertainty encouraged market players to buy stocks.

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