US signals readiness to work with new Pakistani government – SUCH TV

US signals readiness to work with new Pakistani government – SUCH TV

The United States has welcomed the return of Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister and assured that Washington will work with the new Pakistani government on “advancing shared interests” of the two countries.

“So I’m not going to speak with respect to the new prime minister, but as we’ve said before, we value our longstanding partnership with Pakistan and have always viewed a strong, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan as critical to United States-Pakistan interests, and our engagement with new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his government will continue to focus on advancing these shared interests,” said State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller in a press briefing on Monday

His comments came hours after PM Shehbaz Sharif took the oath as the country’s 24th premier at the President’s House in Islamabad.

President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to the newly-elected premier in a ceremony which was attended by several dignitaries including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Asim Munir.

Shehbaz was elected as the prime minister on Sunday, retaining the title after his 16-month-long stint in the top coveted position from April 2022 to August 2023.

This is the second time that Shehbaz will serve the nation as the premier after receiving 201 votes against his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) opponent Omar Ayub Khan who got 92 votes in a ruckus-marred session of the Parliament’s lower house.

Maryam as CM a ‘milestone’ for Pakistani politics

The United States also welcomed the “selection” of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz as the first female chief minister and termed it a “milestone in Pakistani politics”.

“So her selection as chief minister is a milestone in Pakistani politics. We look forward to cooperating with Pakistan more broadly on integrating women more fully into the country’s political life, in the economy, including through the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, civil society, and other decision-making spaces,” said the spokesperson.

Miller emphasised that an inclusive Pakistan will create a “strong, prosperous country” which would benefit all Pakistanis and “so we are always pleased when we see cracks in the glass ceiling anywhere in the world”.

Maryam, who has become the first woman chief minister in Pakistan’s history, won the elections after obtaining 220 votes in the Punjab Assembly last week.

Her opponent, Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) candidate Rana Aftab Ahmad, did not get any votes as the party boycotted the elections after they were stopped from speaking.

Apart from becoming the first female chief minister in the country, Maryam has also become the fourth member of the Sharif family and the first woman member of her family to get elected as CM.

The PML-N senior vice president was elected on two seats in Lahore — NA 119 and PP-159 — during the February 8 general elections. Post-elections she withdrew from the National Assembly seat.

In the PP-159 constituency, she contested against PTI-backed independent candidate Mehr Sharafat and won with a slim margin.

Overall, she is the sixth member of the Sharif family who has been elected in a general or a by-election.

Before her, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and Begum Kalsoom Nawaz were elected from Lahore.

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