Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn in Saturday along with other lawmakers in a peaceful, democratic transfer of power. Sharif must lead a country that struggles with energy shortages, an ailing economy, and ongoing militant activity.
Pakistan Muslim League-N party/AP
Newly elected members of Pakistan's National Assembly were sworn in Saturday, officially marking the first transition of power between democratically elected civilian governments in the nearly 66-year history of this coup-prone country.
Among the steep challenges the legislators will face: massive energy shortages that leave some Pakistanis without power for up to 20 hours a day; a badly ailing economy that might force the Muslim-majority nation to seek an international bailout; and ongoing militant activity by Taliban and other extremists whose violence has killed thousands in the past decade and badly strained Pakistan's alliance with the United States.
Arriving at the Parliament building in Islamabad on a bright, hot day under tight security, the lawmakers were immediately mobbed by reporters. Among those in the spotlight was the incoming prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League-N handily won the May 11 elections.
"We are facing many challenges, but God willing, we will overcome them," said Sharif, who twice served as prime minister in the 1990s and was ousted in a 1999 military coup. The 63-year-old is expected to be sworn in as prime minister and appoint his Cabinet in the coming week.