In the middle of a walkout by parliamentarians from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), which is sponsored by former prime minister Imran Khan’s party, Maryam, a 50-year-old senior vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, emerged victorious in the chief ministerial elections.

Maryam Sharif thanked God, her father Nawaz Sharif, her uncle Shehbaz Sharif, and the legislators who supported her in her first speech to the provincial assembly.

Maryam expressed her happiness upon occupying her father’s former seat. “My father taught me how to manage the position,” declared Maryam, who is regarded as Nawaz Sharif’s political heir. 

“Every woman in the province is happy to see a female chief minister today,” the woman stated, adding that she hoped the legacy of female leadership will last into the future.

The PML-N leader said she was grateful to her opponents for fortifying her despite having experienced difficult moments like incarceration.

She made an oblique reference to former Pakistani leader Justice Saqib Nisar and former Army leader Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa when she remarked, “But I will not seek revenge.”

With 220 votes, Maryam became victorious in the chief ministerial contest for the politically significant Punjab province, which is inhabited by 120 million people. Rana Aftab of the PTI-backed SIC lost against her because his party abstained from the polls.

Presenting the session was the newly elected Speaker Malik Ahmad Khan. “The votes have been counted according to which Maryam has obtained 220 votes, and SIC candidate Rana Aftab Aftab secured zero votes,” he added.

According to Geo News, a candidate seeking the Chief Minister’s position must secure the support of the majority, which consists of 187 of the 327 members of the House. The majority of the House supported Maryam, the recently elected Chief Minister.

In the Punjab Assembly, the 103 members of the SIC, which is supported by the PTI, have sworn in as parliamentarians. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), and other PML-N supporters supported Ms. Maryam.

At least 103 SIC members, including the independent MPs supported by the PTI, staged a walkout in response to Mr. Aftab, the SIC’s nominee for chief minister, being denied the opportunity to speak during the point of order.

“Only the Chief Minister’s election will take place at today’s session. The SIC candidate attempted to speak, but Speaker Khan cut him off. “You cannot speak in today’s session.”

After unsuccessful attempts to persuade the boycotting legislators to return, the speaker finally proceeded with the process of electing a new House leader, as reported by the Dawn daily.

The PTI alleged that in addition to the party’s over 100 Punjab Assembly seats that had been stolen, Maryam had lost his seat in the polls on February 8 by a margin of over 800 votes. The opposition yelled shouts of “Queen of Mandate Thieves” before leaving the session. It lamented the absurdity of a “defeated” candidate ascending to the position of chief minister.

Maryam made a jab at the SIC legislators’ exit, saying, “I wish the respectable members of the opposition benches would be a part of the political and democratic process. Today, I am upset that they are not present here.” She asserted that in spite of several obstacles and hardships, the PML-N and her party never left the ground unoccupied.

She remarked, “I would have been happy if the opposition had been here today and if they had protested during my speech.”