Imran Khan accused of 'burning down democratic order' in Pakistan

Imran Khan accused of 'burning down democratic order' in Pakistan

Imran Khan is accused of ‘burning down democratic order’ as the Pakistan PM dissolves parliament to avoid vote of no confidence which he claims is a US-backed bid to remove him

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday escaped a no-confidence motion
  • The opposition had the numbers to remove Mr Khan, but were not able to vote
  • Khan’s deputy speaker blocked the vote and dissolved the National Assembly
  • Mr Khan will now stay on as PM, telling the nation to ‘prepare for elections’
  • But the Supreme Court is meeting today to decide Mr Khan’s fate 

Pakistan’s top court will meet today to decide on the fate of Prime Minister Imran Khan, after his party blocked a no-confidence vote and he dissolved parliament in a move described as the ‘burning down of the democratic order’.

Former cricket star Khan lost his majority in parliament last week as his opponents built their support, and he was facing a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition on Sunday.

But the deputy speaker of parliament, a member of Khan’s party, blocked the motion that Khan had widely been expected to lose, ruling it was part of a US conspiracy designed to depose him.

Washington has strongly denied any involvement.

The move throws the nuclear-armed nation, which the military has ruled for almost half its history, into a full-blown constitutional crisis, with opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif calling the blocking of the vote ‘nothing short of high treason’.

Pakistan’s top court will meet today to decide on the fate of Prime Minister Imran Khan (pictured), after his party blocked a no-confidence vote and he dissolved parliament in a move described as the ‘burning down of the democratic order’.

The move throws the nuclear-armed nation, which the military has ruled for almost half its history, into a full-blown constitutional crisis, with opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif (pictured) calling the blocking of the vote ‘nothing short of high treason’

Supporters of Imran Khan’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chant slogans during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, April 3, 2022, after Khan’s government blocked a vote of no confidence

Pakistan will go to the polls to elect a new government within three months after Prime Minister Imran Khan foiled an attempt to boot him from office April 3 by getting the president to dissolve the national assembly

‘The nation is stunned,’ Dawn newspaper said in an editorial.

‘Even as political pundits and the media confidently predicted Mr Imran Khan’s defeat in the vote of no-confidence, he seemed unperturbed.

‘No one could have guessed that his last ploy would involve having the democratic order burnt down.’

The largely ceremonial head of state, President Arif Alvi, said on Twitter earlier this morning that Khan would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker role.

Khan wants a general election within 90 days, though that decision officially rests with the president and the election commission.

The Supreme Court is due meet at 1pm (0800 GMT) to begin its deliberation.

It could order parliament be reconstituted, call for a new election, or bar Khan from standing again if he is found to have acted unconstitutionally.

The court could also decide that it cannot intervene in parliamentary affairs.

Khan says he did not act unconstitutionally, calling the move to oust him a plot orchestrated by the United States – a claim Washington denies.

Khan insists he has evidence – which he has declined to disclose publicly – of US involvement in the no-confidence motion, although local media have reported it was merely a letter from Pakistan’s ambassador following a briefing with a senior US official. 

Political analysts say the military regarded Khan’s conservative, nationalist agenda favourably when he won election in 2018 but later cooled towards him over various wrangles.

The military denies involvement in civilian politics but the generals are unlikely to stand by if they thought political chaos was damaging the country or if their core interests were threatened.

Khan foiled an attempt to boot him from office by getting the president to dissolve the national assembly, meaning fresh elections must be held within three months (supporters of Khan pictured)

A resident stands beside a picture of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan as he looks at the morning newspapers displayed for sale at a roadside stall in Islamabad on April 4, 2022

Khan, who led Pakistan’s cricket team to victory in the 1992 World Cup, became Pakistan’s prime minister in 2018.

He was elected as a new, third force in Pakistan’s politics, on promises to end corruption and revitalise the economy.

However four years later many feel he has failed to deliver, with rising costs of living a common complaint made against him.

Speaking to the nation in the wake of yesterday’s dissolution of Parliament, Khan said: ‘I have written to the President to dissolve the assemblies. There should be elections in a democratic way. I call upon the people to Pakistan to prepare for elections.’

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan (pictured), was expected to face and lose a no-confidence vote today, but it was dismissed before it could take place

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (pictured), head of the Pakistan People’s Party in the National Assembly, called the decision to not allow a vote on the no-confidence motion unconstitutional 

‘I congratulate every Pakistani on the speaker’s decision. The no-confidence motion was a foreign conspiracy against us.

‘The nation should decide who should govern them. Not the corrupt people who conspire with foreign powers.

‘Prepare for elections. You will decide.’  

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), accused the government of violating the constitution by not allowing voting on the motion.

He said that the united Opposition will stage a dharna – a way of showing disagreement by refusing to leave a place – in the National Assembly.

He said: ‘Our lawyers are on their way to Supreme Court.

‘We call on all institutions to protect, uphold, defend & implement the constitution of Pakistan.’

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