Raja Pervez Ashraf speaks to the media after submitting his nomination papers for the prime minister outside the National Assembly in Islamabad
Pakistan's parliament elected former water and power minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as the new prime minister on Friday after the incumbent was disqualified by the Supreme Court, reports Reuters.
Yusuf Raza Gilani was ruled ineligible for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, plunging the country into a new political crisis.
Whoever holds the office, now and after an election due early next year, is likely to come under similar pressure from Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who has gained notoriety by taking on Pakistan's top politicians.
Pakistan's three power centres - the military, civilian leadership and Supreme Court - have been manoeuvring to gain a political edge, frustrating Pakistanis who want their leaders to focus on improving the economy and enraging those who blame ministers such as Ashraf for failings in the infrastructure.
The ruling Pakistan People's Party had previously nominated the textiles minister to replace Gilani. But an anti-narcotics court issued an arrest warrant for him, undermining his bid, in a move analysts said may have been orchestrated by the military.
At stake is stability in Pakistan, a regional power seen as critical to efforts to end the Taliban insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Pakistan also faces tensions on the diplomatic front. The country's longstanding alliance with the United States has frequently been subject to turbulence, but relations are at their lowest point in years.
Relations deteriorated after the unilateral U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year.
Washington and Islamabad are also mired in negotiations to re-open supply lines that run through Pakistan to NATO troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan closed them after 24 of its soldiers were killed in a cross-border NATO air attack in November.
But for ordinary Pakistanis, the latest power play has only deepened frustrations with daily hardships and what has been described as a failed state by some.
As water and power minister, Ashraf was seen by many Pakistanis as someone who had failed to ease a crippling energy crisis, which sporadically triggers violent protests.
"Ashraf would be the wrath of God on the nation," said Muhammad Rizwan, an unemployed middle-aged man standing in the heat outside his home in the eastern city of Lahore.
Power cuts had again disabled his electric fans.