Soon after his election as the prime minister of the country, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang congratulated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on becoming the chief executive of the country.

Shehbaz became the 24th elected prime minister of the country after he defeated rival candidate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PT)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmaker Omar Ayub Khan, after obtaining 201 votes in the lower house of the parliament.

Shehbaz’s victory was expected as he enjoyed the support of seven other parties apart from the PML-N. The PM-elect has the support of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Pakistan Muslim League-Zia (PML-Z), Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) and National Party (NP).

In a statement, President Xi Jinping expressed confidence that under the leadership of PM-elect Shehbaz and Pakistan’s new government, and under the united efforts of all sectors of Pakistan, the country would be able to make new and greater achievements in the cause of national development and progress, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.

He stressed that China and Pakistan should continue their traditional friendship, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields, jointly build an upgraded version of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, continue to deepen their all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era, and create more well-being for the two peoples.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang of the State Council also sent a congratulatory message to the newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

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