WATCH: Tearful Imran Khan takes oath as new prime minister of Pakistan

A television screen displaying cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan swearing in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, in Karachi, Pakistan August 18, 2018. (AFP)

Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony on Saturday, officially taking over the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country after his party's victory in a July 25 general election.

Khan, 65, saw his party sweep to victory in a July 25 general election promising to fight corruption and lift millions of people out of poverty.

READ ALSO: Pakistan’s Imran Khan: Once a cricket star, now pious, anti-poverty reformer

The ceremony at the President's House in the capital marks the end of decades of rotating leadership between the ousted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), punctuated by periods of army rule.

A tearful Khan, clad in a traditional black sherwani, smiled as he stumbled over some of the words of the oath administered to him by President Mamnoon Hussain.

He swore to "bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan", and to "discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly, to the best of my ability... and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan."

Khan's third wife, Bushra Bibi -- formerly known as Bushra Maneka -- kept her eyes cast modestly downwards during the ceremony.
It was her first public appearance since their wedding earlier this year, and she appeared escorted by tight security and covered from head to toe in a white niqab, a conservative garment by Pakistani standards.

Pledges

Pakistan has been plagued by boom-and-bust cycles and military coups since independence in 1947, as well as by militant violence in more recent years.

Khan, a firebrand nationalist, has promised to create millions of jobs and build world-class hospital and school systems in the mainly-Muslim country of 208 million people.

Among his first challenges will be to decide whether to request an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout to ease currency pressures, or seek support from China and risk deepening Pakistan’s economic dependence on its neighbor.

“Imran Khan got 176 votes,” Asad Qaiser, the parliament speaker, said in confirming Khan’s victory over rival candidate, Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), who garnered 96 votes.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds 151 seats in the 342-seat lower chamber of parliament, short of a majority, but is expected to form a coalition government with smaller parties.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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