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Punjab Assembly Maryam Nawaz becomes Pakistan’s first female CM, says she has no desire to ‘seek revenge’
Punjab Assembly Maryam Nawaz becomes Pakistan’s first female CM, says she has no desire to ‘seek revenge’

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Punjab Assembly: Maryam Nawaz becomes Pakistan’s first female CM, says she has no desire to ‘seek revenge’

Punjab Assembly: Maryam Nawaz becomes Pakistan’s first female CM, says she has no desire to ‘seek revenge’

In the midst of protests and procedural delays, the Punjab Assembly appointed Maryam Nawaz from the PML-N party as the province’s and Pakistan’s inaugural female chief minister on Monday.

Maryam secured a resounding win with 220 votes, defeating her opponent Rana Aftab Ahmed Khan from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

In the beginning, the SIC, which currently houses the independent candidates supported by PTI who emerged victorious in the general election, initially selected Mian Aslam Iqbal, the MPA-elect from Lahore, for the position. However, they subsequently replaced him with Aftab from Faisalabad, a former PPP loyalist, as Iqbal had refrained from attending the House to be sworn in as MPA due to fears of arrest by the Punjab police.

Nonetheless, the session commenced nearly two hours behind schedule due to the SIC’s claim that its MPAs were barred from entering the assembly premises. When proceedings eventually started at 1 pm, 103 SIC lawmakers staged a walkout.

After the boycott, Speaker Malik declared that the session would proceed without the SIC members and directed the MPAs in attendance to assemble on opposite sides of the aisle. Subsequently, voting took place.

After the process concluded, the outcomes were revealed, and Maryam was officially declared as the 30th chief minister of Punjab, marking her as the first woman to lead the country’s largest province.

Following her election, Maryam, along with her father Nawaz Sharif and uncle Shehbaz Sharif, was sworn in as the Punjab chief minister during a ceremony held at the Governor House.

‘No desire for revenge’

During her victory speech, which lasted for an hour and a half, Maryam, while holding a framed picture of her deceased mother Kulsoom, expressed her disappointment at the opposition’s boycott. She expressed a wish that they had participated in the political and democratic process.

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Maryam remarked, “I would have welcomed the opposition’s presence and their protests during my speech today.” She expressed gratitude to the opposition for subjecting her to challenges that she deemed unparalleled, including various court cases, her father’s incarceration, and the passing of her mother.

“I wish to convey a message to the opposition: My office and my heart will always be open to them, just as they are to the members of my party,” stated Maryam.

“It’s understandable that after experiencing the kind of victimization I have endured, people may hold resentment. However, I want to make it clear today that I harbor no desire for revenge, nor do I hold any hatred towards anyone,” she clarified.

Maryam emphasized that today’s election marked a historic moment and dedicated her victory to all women across the country. “This serves as proof that being a woman or a daughter will not hinder you from pursuing your dreams,” she stated.

Maryam expressed gratitude to her father, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, for his support and guidance, acknowledging his invaluable advice.

Maryam expressed immense pride in occupying the same position as Nawaz Sharif, a visionary leader who held the prime minister’s office three times, a distinction unmatched by any other among Pakistan’s 250 million citizens. She pledged to uphold and advance the legacy of the PML-N.

She additionally mentioned that the primary goals of the PML-N under her leadership would include ensuring employment opportunities, improving access to education, and enhancing healthcare services.

“I come from a privileged background, but I have had opportunities to engage directly with ordinary people, and I understand their challenges and aspirations. I am well aware of the expectations they have from the government.”

“Henceforth, following the oath-taking ceremony today, I will proceed to my office and initiate the execution of my manifesto,” she declared.

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“I understand that five years may seem short, and 24 hours may feel insufficient. Therefore, starting from today, immediately after taking the oath, I will begin implementing my manifesto as soon as I arrive at my office,” she declared.

She also unveiled a Ramadan relief package named Nigheban for the province. This initiative comprises essential goods valued at Rs6.5 to Rs7 million, which will be distributed to the public throughout Ramadan.

“The package will be brought directly to their homes,” she remarked. Maryam also mentioned the establishment of marketplaces offering essential items at discounted prices.

She expressed her intention to develop Punjab into a thriving “economic center” by fostering a conducive environment for entrepreneurs. Emphasizing the government’s role in crafting policies and regulations, she highlighted her intentions to bolster public-private collaborations.

She emphasized that providing “incentives” to the private sector was essential to promote economic stability.

She additionally stated that as of today, free medications would be available at all government hospitals throughout the province. Furthermore, she pledged to construct a modern hospital in each city of Punjab.

Maryam also announced that Punjab would unveil its inaugural air ambulance within the upcoming 12 weeks, aiming to enhance healthcare accessibility for residents in mountainous and hilly regions.

During her speech, Maryam emphasized that the safety of women in the province was her foremost concern. “Hence, I am declaring the establishment of a specialized helpline for women,” she stated.

She announced that women would receive adequate facilities at workplaces, such as separate washrooms and daycare centers. “Crossing any boundaries with women is not acceptable under Maryam Nawaz’s leadership,” she declared.

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CM Maryam praised Gulber Circle ASP Shehr Bano for her actions in defending a girl who was wearing a garment featuring Arabic calligraphy from an assault by an enraged crowd in Lahore the previous day.

Additionally, she emphasized that any instances of police brutality would not be tolerated, and she pledged to investigate the recent incident in Taxila where a police officer slapped an elderly woman.

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