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Friday, October 7, 2022

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled against Imran Khan’s bid to remain in power

After rejecting Prime Minister Imran Khan’s effort to dismiss Parliament, the Supreme Court set the groundwork for a no-confidence vote that is widely likely to oust him from office. The ruling was a big triumph for opposition leaders, who claimed that Mr. Khan was attempting a “open coup.”

A no-confidence vote in the government was successfully prevented on Sunday by Mr. Khan, the international cricketer-turned-politician and his friends from dissolving Parliament. With this decision, Pakistan was thrown into a constitutional crisis, which exacerbated the political instability that has been plaguing the nation for the last several weeks.

The most recent events have reignited worries of unrest in the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people, which has been the victim of many military coups since its inception 75 years ago….

When Mr. Khan faces the danger of being removed from Parliament by opposition parties, erstwhile allies, and defectors from inside his own party, it is quite probable that he will struggle to garner popular support ahead of the next elections. Mr. Khan would be the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted from office after a no-confidence vote, despite the fact that no prime leader has ever served a full five-year term in office.

In its decision on Thursday, the court concluded that the action was in violation of the Constitution and ordered that the no-confidence vote go place on Saturday morning as scheduled. It is predicted that he would lose that vote, and the nation will go forward with preparations for general elections in the following months.

The verdict seemed to have shifted the political tides in favour of the opposition parties, who had been caught by surprise when Mr. Khan escaped the no-confidence vote on Sunday. In the days that followed, Mr. Khan, a populist leader, had taken control of the political narrative and galvanised support behind his charges of an American-led plot against him and his family.

It is conceivable that both the opposition and Mr. Khan will have to shift their focus to future elections as a result of this development. Mr. Khan’s political brinkmanship will be put to the test in these elections, which come after a public rebuke to his leadership from both the country’s courts and MPs, including some of Mr. Khan’s political friends.

Additionally, the elections will determine whether or not the coalition of opposition parties, which is generally at odds but has banded together around the objective of a no-confidence vote, will be able to maintain its unity.

It is commonly believed that elections in a nation where the military has sway over the most important levers of power would provide a chance for military commanders to choose and elevate new political allies.

Moments after the Supreme Court of Pakistan pronounced its decision, opposition supporters flocked to the street outside the courthouse in Islamabad and burst into applause. They chanted “Long live the Constitution!” and “Go Imran Go!” as they pumped their fists in the air.
Shehbaz Sharif, the head of the opposition, told reporters that the Supreme Court’s judgement had protected the nation and ensured its independence from outside interference.

Mr. Khan, who is 69 years old, was elected on a nationalist platform and has promised to combat corruption. His popularity has suffered in recent months as a result of the increase in inflation. After he declined to support the selection of a new director general of the country’s intelligence agency last year, his relationship with senior military commanders deteriorated further.

An opposition alliance filed a no-confidence resolution against the government last month and received the votes necessary to clinch a victory. Although Mr. Khan’s friends in the National Assembly prevented the vote from taking place on Sunday, he declared that he intended to dissolve the body in a broadcast address, which was subsequently confirmed by Mr. Khan in the same speech. He also advocated for the holding of early elections.

In recent days, Mr. Khan has attempted to exploit such claims to stir up support among his core supporters and pull people into the streets — providing a peek of the way he would most likely use to garner public support ahead of the general elections in the coming months.

Earlier this week, the country’s electoral commission, an independent federal organisation in charge of planning and executing elections to the national Parliament, said that general elections might take place as soon as October at the very earliest.

In the absence of the complete support of the country’s military, it is uncertain how Mr. Khan would perform in the next polls. The military was largely seen as having sabotaged the 2018 elections in order to pave the way for his triumph. Mr. Khan, as well as the military, have both refuted the allegations.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday also calls into question his political narrative that the United States plotted to depose him from office, and it is sure to have a negative impact on his popular image.

Nonetheless, the impact from Mr. Khan’s recent effort to retain his position as prime minister might have long-term ramifications.

The Pakistani rupee plunged to an all-time low on Thursday as a result of the instability. According to commentators, the present issue has split the nation even more and has the potential to erupt into turmoil ahead of the forthcoming elections.

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