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Political Crisis in Pakistan Explained in Simple Words

Pakistan is facing a constitutional and political crisis after the President of Pakistan dissolved National Assembly on the recommendation of Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 3. The move was followed by the deputy speaker of the National Assembly dismissing the no-confidence motion that sought to remove Khan as the Prime Minister. He ruled that the vote was a foreign conspiracy and unconstitutional. It has prevented opposition parties from claiming power, as their members were reportedly in majority and the chance of the removal of the Prime Minister through a Vote of No Confidence, was high, The opposition has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the legality of deputy speaker’s ruling.

The Roots of Current Political Crisis in Pakistan

Imran Khan has been facing an attempt to oust him as the Prime Minister since 8 March when the opposition submitted the vote of no-confidence. The opposition, made up of former political adversaries had claimed to manage enough votes for the no-confidence motion to succeed. On third April, the day assembly was dissolved, the opposition staged a sit-in inside the parliament and then held a mock exercise in which 196 members voted against Khan. The opposition-held Khan responsible for the political crisis in Pakistan by failing to “revive the economy and end corruption”, as he promised. The opposition parties have refused to accept the deputy speaker’s ruling for being ‘unconstitutional’. The speaker cited article 5 of the constitution for blocking the no-confidence motion. The article states that “loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen”. Lawmakers criticized the move and saw it as a violation of the constitution. The opposition said that the government was ‘unconstitutional’ itself by blocking the vote. The suo moto notice that Supreme Court took had few judges of the supreme court while the opposition filed a petition for a full bench hearing. The opposition side argues that as per the constitution, assemblies cannot be dissolved after the submission of the no-confidence vote.

Why the Vote of No Confidence against Imran Khan was to Succeed?

The major reason for PTI losing the majority was Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) joining the opposition. A senior MQM-P official said that alliance with PTI was a burden. He attributed the unprecedented price hike in the country to PTI’s policies.

It was widely believed that Khan came to power with the help of the establishment, who called the shots in Pakistan. However, some reports claim that recently they had a falling out, allowing the opposition alliance to seize the opportunity to demand a no-confidence vote. There are also reports of defections by supposed loyalists of Khan’s Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) like Noor Alam Khan and other members. Previously, many other PTI defectors have been reportedly siding with the opposition to remove Khan through the vote of no-confidence.

Foreign Conspiracy Allegations

A few days ago in a public address, Khan accused the US of conspiring against him with the opposition parties without evidence. However, he claimed that the National Security Committee has accepted his evidence. It was apparently a letter by a foreign government condemning Khan’s visit to Russia amid Ukraine tensions. The US denied the allegations and said that it respected and supported the constitutional process and the rule of law in Pakistan. The opposition also dismissed Khan’s accusations and demanded solid evidence for this.

Who Will Be the New Prime Minister?

No Prime Minister has ever completed his term of 5 years in the history of Pakistan. Imran Khan is also now facing the same fate. There are reportedly going to be new elections in 90 days but until that time Imran Khan will stay as Prime Minister. The Supreme Court will give its final verdict by the end of Monday, 4th April 2022.

The political crisis in Pakistan is likely to impact the economy in adverse ways. There is likely to be a delay in the influx of loans from the IMF (International Monetary Fund), World Bank, ADB (Asian Development Bank) and other lenders.

Despite, all the odds stacked against Imran Khan, there are still many who support him including celebrities and overseas Pakistanis. However, the political divide among the public in the form of Pro-PTI and Pro-PMLN groups is also clearly visible. Whether assemblies will be restored or the deputy speaker’s ruling on April 3 will hold depends upon the decision the Supreme Court of Pakistan takes in this regard.

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