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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

"The prime minister has taken off well. He seems composed, well-prepared, and focused. The level of excitement and trust is on both sides. The stock market has boomed while the exchange rate of the rupee is quite positive. Once he is done with cabinet and team selection, Shehbaz will show his true colours, changing the situation for a better change. Most likely, he will perform well on domestic fronts"

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. For a decade, we have been calling him ‘Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’.

So, I wrote ‘Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’ only to analyse my feelings.

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Since the departure of Nawaz Sharif to London for medical treatment, Shehbaz Sharif has been in the limelight with an active political role for over two years. And, now he has become the prime minister of Pakistan. He knows that he is running short of time; his hands are tied in the protocol of coalition arrangements. But he is a workaholic, and he believes in the delivery of governmental work through a combination of traditional and out-of-box solutions.

Shehbaz Sharif has been active in politics since 1988. Not to mention that he has headed Punjab three times as a chief minister and more recently as the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly before he was elevated as the Prime Minister, thanks to the joint struggle of 11 political parties. Right now, he can be safely called the representative of almost all political parties, sans the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, in the National Assembly, a rare feat enjoyed by any head of the state.

I would have been writing this column in the second or third week of March, had the law of the land been followed by the predecessor ruling party. When a no-confidence motion was moved against the Imran Khan government on March 8, the speaker should have called voting instantly. But it did not happen and now the events leading up to the subsequent election of the Leader of the House after a court battle are well known.

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Shehbaz Sharif in his first speech after his election in the National Assembly on Monday said that he has a strategy to deal with the challenges.

In his address, he first covered the ongoing economic situation, the drama coming out of the diplomatic cable, and deteriorating international diplomatic relations. The vantage point of his address was the facilities and relief measures for the people, according to which the minimum monthly wage has been increased from April 1 to Rs25,000, and a sweeping 10 percent increase in the salaries of government employees.

Announcements were also made to provide cheap flour to the people through Ramazan package and expanding the Benazir Income Support Programme besides giving more laptops to students. The prime minister upgraded himself from the servant of Punjab to the servant of Pakistan. He said he would lead the four provinces and put the whole country on the path of equal development. Referring to the alleged diplomatic cable, he said that the matter would be investigated and a closed-door briefing will be given in the presence of the chiefs of armed forces and ISI director general in the National Security Committee.

The prime minister has taken off well. He seems composed, well-prepared, and focused.

The level of excitement and trust is on both sides. The stock market has boomed while the exchange rate of the rupee is quite positive. Once he is done with cabinet and team selection, Shehbaz will show his true colours, changing the situation for a better change. Most likely, he will perform well on domestic fronts.

What about foreign frontiers?

The prime minister will have to work extra time to improve relations with the United States and going ahead to further strengthen the Pakistan-China friendship.

It is clear from the speech and actions of Shehbaz Sharif that the country is on the right track. The real challenge is to keep the pace and determination in the coming days.

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