Pakistan’s former cricket star Imran Khan has been sworn in as the country’s new prime minister.
The 65-year-old took the oath in a ceremony at the President’s House in the capital Islamabad on Saturday, officially assuming office in the South Asian country after his party won July 25 elections.
The charismatic sports star swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan” and “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 was elected by lawmakers at the National Assembly as premier on Friday, after his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won general elections against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif last month on the platform of fighting corruption and tackling financial crisis.
The former cricket star won the parliament’s backing.
In a speech to parliament, the cricketer-turned-politician reiterated his campaign promise to hold “corrupt” politicians to account and to improve job opportunities for young people.
“First of all, we will start strict accountability. I promise to my God that everyone who looted this country will be made accountable,” Khan said. “I did not climb on any dictator’s shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years.”
The PTI is expected to form a coalition government with smaller parties as it fell short of an outright majority in the disputed July 25 election.
The opposition still claims that the elections were rigged by the powerful military, which ruled the country for about half the time since the country’s formation in 1947. The military has denied the allegation.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz calls for a judicial investigation into allegations of rigging during general elections last week.
Pakistan had been marred by violence and allegations of military interference in the months leading up to the vote. The country is also engaged in a long-simmering dispute with India over Kashmir.
The new prime minister will face a multitude of challenges, including extremism, economic crisis, water shortages and a booming population.