Imran Khan sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister

Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan, with President Mamnoon Hussain (far right) beside him, reciting the oath of office in Islamabad yesterday.
Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan, with President Mamnoon Hussain (far right) beside him, reciting the oath of office in Islamabad yesterday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ISLAMABAD • Former cricket star Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan yesterday, taking on the challenge of forming a coalition to govern as a currency crisis looms over the turbulent, nuclear-armed South Asian country.

Mr Khan, a firebrand nationalist, won a general election last month promising to fight corruption and drastically reduce poverty among Pakistan's 208 million mostly Muslim people.

Wearing a traditional black sherwani coat, in the style of his hero and Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mr Khan recited the oath of office and vowed to respect the Constitution.

"I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan," Mr Khan read from the oath, standing next to President Mamnoon Hussain.

Later, Mr Khan received a guard of honour on the lawns of the Prime Minister's house.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote a congratulatory letter to Mr Khan on his appointment, noting that Singapore and Pakistan commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2016. "I look forward to further strengthening our bilateral cooperation under your leadership," he said in the letter.

Military coups have punctuated Pakistan's 71-year history, and Mr Khan's election was only the second democratic transfer of power.

His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Justice Party, holds 151 of the 342 seats in the national assembly, where Mr Khan on Friday won the confidence vote and is expected to lead a coalition government.

Pakistan has been plagued by economic boom-and-bust cycles as well as by Islamist militant violence in more recent years.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 19, 2018, with the headline 'Imran Khan sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe