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Pakistan’s prime minister ousted in no-confidence motion – World News

Pakistan’s political opposition ousted the country’s troubled prime minister in a no-confidence vote early Sunday, which it won after several of Imran Khan’s allies and a major coalition party left him.

A united opposition that spans the political spectrum from leftist to radically religious will form the new government, with one of the largest parties, the Pakistani Muslim League, taking over as prime minister.

Anticipating his loss, Khan, who accused the opposition of colluding with the United States, on Sunday called on his supporters to hold rallies across the country. Khan has limited options and if he sees a large turnout in his support, he may try to maintain the momentum of street protests to pressure parliament to hold an early election.

Khan had previously tried to circumvent the vote by dissolving Parliament and holding early elections, but a Supreme Court decision ordered the vote to go ahead.

The vote comes amid cold ties between Khan and a powerful military, which many of his political opponents allege helped him rise to power in the 2018 general elections. The military has ruled Pakistan directly for more than half of its 75 years and wielded considerable power over civilians. governments, who are concerned that a disgruntled military might oust them.

The opposition called for Khan’s removal, accusing him of economic mismanagement as inflation rises and the Pakistani rupee falls in value. The vote foreshadows months of political turmoil and a constitutional crisis that requires a Supreme Court to resolve.

In an impassioned speech on Friday, Khan reiterated his allegations that his opponents colluded with the United States to oust him over his foreign policy choices, which often favored China and Russia and disregarded the US. were.

Khan said Washington protested his February 24 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, hours after tanks rolled into Ukraine, triggering a devastating war in the heart of Europe.

Before the vote his lawmakers addressed the attack on parliament, Khan told of a senior US official, who did not wish to be named, who informed top Pakistani diplomats that if Khan was ousted Pakistan would relations with Washington would improve. Human rights minister Shireen Mazari called Khan in the memorandum and said if he were out of power “all would be forgiven.”

He asked: “Forgive what? What is our sin?”

The US State Department has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s internal politics. State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters Friday that “there is no truth to these allegations.”

Nevertheless, Khan urged his supporters to take to the streets, especially the youth who have been the backbone of his support since the former cricket star’s conservative Islamic politician came to power in 2018. He said he needed to defend the sovereignty of Pakistan and oppose the American dictatorship. ,

“You have to come out to protect your future. You have to defend your democracy, your sovereignty and your freedom. … It is your duty,” he said. “I will not accept an imposed government.”

Khan’s allegations are likely to resonate with many in Pakistan, says Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center in Washington.

“Allegations of Khan’s conspiracy will resonate in a country that tends to include the worst possible motives for US policy, particularly because of a history of US interference in Pakistani politics,” Kugelman said.

Khan’s insistence that US involvement in efforts to remove him, particularly after 9/11, takes advantage of deep-seated mistrust among many in Pakistan of US intentions.

Washington has often reprimanded Pakistan for doing little to fight Islamist terrorists, even as thousands of Pakistanis have died at their hands and the military has lost more than 5,000 soldiers. Pakistan has been attacked for aiding Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents, while also being asked to bring them to the peace table.

Losing a no-confidence vote for Khan brought some unlikely partners to power.

One of them is the fundamental religious party which runs several religious schools. The Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam, or the Assembly of Clerics, teaches a deeply conservative brand of Islam in its schools. Many of Afghanistan’s Taliban and Pakistan’s own domestically violent Taliban have graduated from JUI schools.

The Pakistan People’s Party, led by the son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the Pakistan Muslim League – the largest of the opposition parties – have been tainted by allegations of widespread corruption.

Pakistan Muslim League leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was convicted of corruption after his name appeared in the so-called Panama Papers. It is a collection of leaked secret financial documents that show how some of the world’s richest hide their money and involve a global law firm based in Panama. Sharif was disqualified from assuming office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The new prime minister is expected to be Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif after parliament votes for the new prime minister on Monday.

Pakistan expert Elizabeth Threlkeld said, “It will be the first time in Pakistan’s history that a no-confidence vote succeeds in removing a prime minister – the fulfillment of a constitutional process guaranteed after Khan’s attempts to derail the vote.” was far away.” At The Stimson Center in America. “That in itself is important, and can give Pakistan something to look forward to.”

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