Parliamentary and provincial elections took place in Pakistan on 18 February 2008. The EU Election Observation Mission recognised the elections as competitive. The political parties of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Awami National Party (ANP) with the Jamiat Ulema Islami-Fazlur (JUI-F) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) grouping have formed a coalition government. The National Assembly elected a new Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gillani, on 24 March. He was sworn in by President Musharraf on 25 March. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has written to Prime Minister Gillani to congratulate him on his election.
We welcome the statement made by Prime Minister Gillani on 29 March, setting out the priorities for the first 100 days of his coalition government in the National Assembly, announcing measures to combat terrorism, tackle inflation and unemployment, improve media freedoms and strengthen the judiciary. Pakistan faces considerable challenges, not only political, but also economic, developmental, educational and health. We are looking forward to working closely with the new government to help them to meet these challenges.