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Pakistan gets Nawaz Sharif, India gets flicker of hope

Two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by General Pervez Musharraf in a military coup in 1999, staged a stunning comeback and is now all set to be sworn in as PM for a record third time. This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that there has been a smooth transition from one elected government to another.

At the time of going to press, PML-N had won more than 128 of the 268 seats which went to polls. A beaming Nawaz promised change following a bitterly-fought election that saw the country of 180 million face a string of terror attacks. Unfazed voters defied Taliban diktat and bombings to cast their vote Saturday, recording a 60 percent turnout. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf may become the second largest party, pushing the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party to an inglorious exit from power and the third position.

‘I want to...assure you all that I will honour all commitments I and my party leaders had made during the election campaign,’ Sharif, 63, told a cheering crowd as trends showed his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz surging ahead of its rivals. Nawaz Sharif has served as the country’s prime minister for two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to October 1999.

However, his both governments were dismissed before completing their constitutional term.

Sharif said every possible effort would be made to steer the country out of the current crisis and make it a peaceful and prosperous country. ‘It is our desire to get absolute majority in the National Assembly so that we should not have to beg for votes for formation of coalition government as coalition governments could not deliver properly,’ Sharif said.

After assuming the office of the prime minister, Sharif promised, he would convene a meeting of all political parties to get solid proposals to resolve the issues of poverty, price hike, power load-shedding, unemployment and other problems being faced by the country. The PML-N chief said his party would work with full zeal and vigour to build a new Pakistan which would be stronger and prosperous.
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