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Khan Unveils Key Ministers After Taking Pakistani Premier's Office


Imran Khan (file photo)

Former cricket star Imran Khan has announced his key cabinet picks after he was sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister following his party's controversial election victory last month.

President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of office in Islamabad on August 18 in a ceremony broadcast on national television.

Khan, 65, was approved for the post in a confidence vote by the National Assembly on August 17 and his Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) party is expected to form a coalition government since his party fell short of the 172 seats needed to control a parliamentary majority.

Hours after taking his oath, Khan's office released a partial list of his choice of cabinet ministers and for the presidency.

Asad Umer, former CEO of Pakistani multinational Engro, was appointed as finance minister, party deputy chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi as foreign minister, and former chief minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Pervez Khattak was given charge of the Defense Ministry.

Khan chose party stalwart Arif Alvi as its presidential candidate. The president will be voted on by lawmakers from Pakistan's upper and lower houses and the four provincial assemblies next month.

"I want to thank the people and I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to bring change," Khan said in a combative speech after he was approved premier in a vote in parliament on August 17. "Those who have robbed this country, I will hold each and every one of you accountable."

The July 25 election was marred by the intimidation of some candidates, an effort to undermine the former ruling party, and media self-censorship, according to a monitoring team from the European Union.

Supporters of Imran Khan celebrate as the National Assembly elects him as prime minister in Karachi on August 17.
Supporters of Imran Khan celebrate as the National Assembly elects him as prime minister in Karachi on August 17.

Khan's victory marked his stunning rise from struggling politician to the highest civilian office in the country.

Born to a privileged family and educated at Britain's University of Oxford, Khan was known for his playboy lifestyle and married wealthy British heiress Jemima Goldsmith in 1996. He has since remarried twice.

During the election campaign, Khan criticized Pakistani liberals and embraced conservative Islam as a politician, promising an Islamic justice system.

He allied himself with extremist religious groups with ties to militancy.

Khan's closest challenger in the election was Shahbaz Sharif from ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party.

Sharif's former ruling party won only 92 seats in the July elections after a corruption scandal and court ruling that led to Nawaz Sharif's resignation and his disqualification from holding public office.

With reporting by PTI, AP, and Reuters
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