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Toppling Of Imran Khan Government In Pakistan – OpEd

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In Pakistan, the opposition’s no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan succeeded an hour past midnight on Sunday, with 174 members in the 342-strong house voting in favour of the resolution. 

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PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq, who was chairing the session after Asad Qaiser resigned as speaker, announced the result. As a result, Imran Khan ceased to hold the office of Prime Minister, according to Article 95 of the Constitution.

Imran Khan is the first prime minister in Pakistan’s history to have been removed from office through a no-confidence vote. Before him, Shaukat Aziz in 2006, and Benazir Bhutto in 1989, survived the moves against them.

Before adjourning the session, Sadiq said the nomination papers for the new prime minister may be submitted by 2pm today (Sunday) and scrutiny would be done by 3pm. He summoned the session on Monday at 11am and said the new premier would be elected then.

Later, it was announced that the assembly would meet at 2:00pm instead.

Earlier, after announcing the result, Sadiq gave the floor to Shehbaz Sharif, who is the joint opposition’s candidate for the post of prime minister. Shehbaz paid tribute to all leaders part of the joint opposition, and vowed that the “new regime would not indulge in politics of revenge”.

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“I don’t want to go back to bitterness of the past. We want to forget them and move forward. We will not take revenge or do injustice; we will not send people to jail for no reason, law and justice will take its course,” Shehbaz said.

After Shehbaz, Bilawal took the floor and congratulated the house for passing a no-trust resolution against a premier for the first time in history.

“On April 10, 1973, this house approved the Constitution. On April 10, 1986, Benazir Bhutto ended her exile and returned to Lahore for her struggle against Gen Ziaul Haq,” Bilawal recalled.

“Today is April 10, 2022, and the one we had declared selected, the non-democratic burden this country was bearing for the past 3 years, today, April 10, 2022, welcome back to purana (old) Pakistan.”

Minutes before voting began, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser resigned from his post, saying he could not take part in a foreign conspiracy to oust the prime minister.

Qaiser’s resignation came almost 15 minutes before midnight, which according to legal experts, was the deadline to implement the Supreme Court’s orders to conduct voting on the no-trust motion. 

Before announcing his resignation, Qaiser said that he had received “important documents” from the cabinet, which he invited the leader of the opposition and the chief justice of Pakistan to see.

“In line with our laws and the need to stand for our country, I have decided that I can’t remain on the position of speaker and thereby resign,” he said.

“Because this is a national duty and it is the Supreme Court’s decision, I will ask the panel Chairman Ayaz Sadiq to run the session,” Qaiser said.

After Sadiq took the chair, he paid tribute to Qaiser for remaining with his party and opting for an “honourable exit”.

“He [Qaiser] had a very good relationship with all of us, a working relationship. He tried to conduct all these proceedings with dignity and together with the opposition.”

Denial of any US involvement by State Department

The US State Department has said that there’s absolutely no truth in Imran Khan’s claim that Washington is behind an alleged conspiracy to overthrow his government. 

Khan has been claiming that his independent foreign policy has annoyed foreign powers and they have financed the opposition’s no-trust move against him.

In an address to the nation on Friday, Khan had reiterated his allegations that a senior US diplomat threatened a regime change in Pakistan.

In another statement,Khan also named the official — Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in the Department of State — who allegedly threatened a regime-change in Pakistan during a meeting with the then Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan.

Official says Washington supports Pakistan’s constitutional process

At a Friday evening news briefing in Washington, a journalist reminded Deputy State Department Spokesperson Jalina Porter that in his address to the nation, Khan renewed his allegation that the US had encouraged the no-confidence vote, saying that he had a diplomatic cable to prove it.

“Let me just say very bluntly there is absolutely no truth to these allegations,” said Ms Porter.

“Of course, we continue to follow these developments, and we respect and support Pakistan’s constitutional process and rule of law. But again, these allegations are absolutely not true,” she added.

A prestigious diplomatic news site, ‘Foreign Policy,’ noted in its latest report on Pakistan that the future of Islamabad’s fragile relationship with Washington remains foggy after Khan levelled serious allegations against the United States, making it a central part of their political crisis”.

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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