NIGHTWATCH: Pakistan, China, & India — Regional Accommodation As US Gets Kicked Out of the Neighborhood — Next Up the Persian – Russian Peace Zone
Pakistan: Pakistan’s National Assembly on Wednesday formally elected Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. Sharif, 63, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, was elected by an overwhelming majority. He received 244 of the 317 votes cast by assembly members. Many parties voted en bloc for Nawaz Sharif to curry favor with the new government.
President Zardari administered the oath of office at President House.
Prime Minister Sharif delivered a brief speech on the floor of the National Assembly after his election. He said, “The chapter of drone attacks on the country’s soil should now be closed. As we respect others’ sovereignty, ours should also be given respect. This campaign must come to an end.”
He also addressed Pakistan’s many problems. In Churchillian fashion, he said he would not make attractive promises to the masses nor talk about any imaginary heaven on earth. He openly sided with the productive forces of the country agriculture, industry and exports, as the keys for economic revival. He said he would tolerate no corruption and nepotism and that the doors of dictatorship had been closed forever.
The only foreign country mentioned was China. The Prime Minister said he would form a study group to work on establishing a rail link to western China from Karachi and the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar via the Khunjerab Pass in the north. He plans to give free port status to the Chinese built and now managed new port of Gwadar in western Pakistan.