Pakistan's Prime Minister Khan Survives Ouster Bid, Seeks Early Election

Parliament is dissolved after failed no-confidence motion by the opposition, which claims Khan failed to revive Pakistan's economy and crack down on corruption

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Pakistani lawmakers of the united opposition walk towards the parliament house building in Islamabad, on Sunday.
Pakistani lawmakers of the united opposition walk towards the parliament house building in Islamabad, on Sunday.Credit: AKHTAR SOOMRO/ REUTERS
Reuters
Reuters

Pakistan’s president dissolved Parliament on Sunday setting the stage for early elections after the prime minister sidestepped a no-confidence move earlier in the day.

Israel's 'embarrassing' Ukraine policy: LISTEN to General H.R. McMaster

Imran Khan survived a move to oust him as Pakistan's prime minister, getting a reprieve when the deputy speaker of parliament blocked a no-confidence motion as unconstitutional.

Khan then asked President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly, or law-making lower house of Parliament, accusing his political opposition of working with the United States to overthrow his government, leading to fresh political instability in the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, Pakistan, last month.Credit: Anjum Naveed /AP

The opposition immediately vowed to challenge the block on the no-confidence vote, made by a member of the premier's political party, while Khan advised the country's president to dissolve parliament and called on the nation to prepare for fresh elections.

"I've sent advice to the president to dissolve assemblies," Khan said in a televised address, referring to national and state legislatures.

The developments came after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry accused the opposition of colluding with a “foreign power” to stage a “regime change.”

Chaudhry said Sunday that Khan's cabinet had been dissolved and that the prime minister would continue his responsibilities. He added that elections would be held in 90 days, as is stipulated by the constitution.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, head of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), promised a sit-in at the parliament and told reporters, "We are also moving to the Supreme Court today."

The opposition blames Khan for failing to revive the economy and crack down on corruption. He has said, without citing evidence, that the move to oust him was orchestrated by the United States, a claim Washington denies.

Political survival on the line

The opposition and analysts say Khan, who rose to power in 2018 riding on the powerful military's support, had fallen out with it, a charge he and the military deny.

No prime minister has finished a full five-year term since independence from Britain in 1947, and generals on several occasions have ruled the country, which is perennially at odds with fellow nuclear-armed neighbor India.

If the vote had gone through and the opposition remained united, the former cricket star who surged to power in 2018 but recently lost his parliamentary majority, would have been out of office.

With coalition partners and some of his own lawmakers defecting earlier in the week, Khan had looked set to fall below the 172 votes needed to survive the no-confidence vote.

A prominent newspaper had recently said Khan was "as good as gone", but he had urged his supporters to take to the streets on Sunday ahead of the planned vote.

On the streets of the capital Islamabad, there was a heavy police and paramilitary presence, with shipping containers used to block off roads, according to a Reuters witness.

Police were seen detaining three supporters of Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party outside parliament, but the streets were otherwise calm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott