The turmoil in Pakistan’s politics is soaring. The opposition is adamant about bringing a no-confidence motion against the current government of Pakistan, led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan. Currently, the political crisis in the neighbouring country of India is deepening.
Imran’s political career seems to be coming to an end. Will this month be the last over of his political career? Although he sent his last over on the cricket ground on March 25, 1992, in the World Cup finals.
Political unrest in Pakistan
One of the founding members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, Najeeb Haroon, said the only way to end the turmoil is with the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He may leave the PM post after the OIC conference.
As the date of the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan inches closer, several dissatisfied members of the National Assembly (MNAs) of the ruling PTI party said that they have parted ways with the ruling party and would not fight the next elections on a PTI ticket.
He further said that Imran Khan should resign and the party should nominate any other member of the party to take charge as prime minister of Pakistan.
Staring at a no confidence motion in parliament, Pakistan PM Imran Khan has launched a tirade against his political rivals. He has been particularly scathing in his attacks on Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N, calling the former PM a “geedar”, or jackal, and also inveighed against his brother and party president, Shehbaz Sharif, as well as vice-president Maryam Nawaz.
At a rally, he said, “The absconder and his daughter say bad things about the army and Shehbaz polishes every boot he sees,” Maryam was quick to respond that Khan’s “game is over.” Shehbaz, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the PPP, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance were all labelled as corrupt, weak, and traitors by Khan.
Shehbaz, in the race for PM
Shehbaz was the long-term CM of Punjab before he became a parliamentarian. He is the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. He became PML (N) president after his elder brother Nawaz was disqualified from holding office. Sources said the chiefs of opposition parties have agreed to elect Shehbaz as the next PM. Days ahead of the vote, Khan announced a public rally outside the parliament on March 27 and vowed that his supporters would stay until the day of voting.
On March 25, the opposition will march.
The opposition responded by announcing a march in Islamabad on March 25 and a sit-in to challenge Khan’s supporters. While his rivals blame him for bad governance and economic incompetence, political observers believe Khan has lost the backing of the military establishment responsible for bringing him to power.
He met army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday—seen as an attempt to get back into the good books of the military. The military has so far adopted a neutral stand. Last year, the gap between Khan and the military widened because of his reluctance to change the ISI chief.
Khan grabs power in 2018
Khan, 69, came to power in 2018 with the slimmest majority of 176 votes in parliament. The PTI has 155 members and requires at least 172 to stay in power. The party has the support of 23 members from six political parties.
Defections from the PTI have made matters worse as these members have threatened to vote against Khan. His government filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking clarification on Article 63-A of the Constitution regarding the disqualification of nearly two dozen dissident PTI MPs whose votes are crucial for the opposition as it needs 172 votes to remove Khan. The article says anyone voting against the party leader’s directive on key points will be disqualified.
Khan has also been trying to cultivate a narrative that a no-trust move was a western conspiracy due to his independent foreign policy approach.
Imran’s likely to unseat
A key ally has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is in danger of losing his coalition partners in a no-confidence vote sought by the opposition, flagging a “tilt” by his partners in government towards their opponents.
The threat of political turmoil in the nuclear-armed nation is growing as the opposition looks to oust the cricketer-turned-politician in a vote that could come as soon as this month after the no-confidence motion was unveiled in parliament last week.
“He is in 100 percent danger,” Pervaiz Elahi, the head of one of the four parties in Khan’s ruling coalition, told television broadcaster HUM News late on Tuesday.
In an interview, the veteran politician added, “They all have a tilt towards the opposition,” referring to the four parties that have a total of 20 seats in the lower house of parliament.
Without them, Khan’s party, which has 155 seats in the lower house, would fall short of the 172 needed to retain power.
Khan’s ministers have said Elahi would not part ways with the government, while other coalition partners have said they were weighing their options. A spokesman for Elahi’s party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The opposition wants to oust Khan.
Pakistan’s opposition seeks to throw out Khan after rallying thousands of people on a campaign that said he had mismanaged the economy, governance, and foreign policy. No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed his term in office.
The joint opposition consists of major parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of former prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, and has a strength of nearly 163 in the lower house.
It needs a simple majority of 172 to win through in the no-confidence vote.
“They have the necessary number, even more than that,” Elahi said of the opposition.
In the event of Khan’s fall, Elahi, the speaker of the assembly in the largest province of Punjab, has been negotiating with the opposition over the make-up of the next government in the event of Khan’s fall.
The opposition and political analysts say Khan has fallen out with Pakistan’s powerful military, whose support they see as critical for any political party to attain power in the way the former cricket star’s upstart party did four years ago.
It is a difficult situation for Imran to handle the anger of the opposition. Although on the cricket grounds, he saved his team several times with his outstanding all-round display and shrewd captaincy. The question that arises here is, can he succeed here and face the backlash of opposition with determination? As a prime minister, it is a difficult and testing time for him. But he was a fighter on the cricket ground. Therefore, it is difficult for him to save his government, but he can remain the PM of Pakistan due to his clever moves. Time will tell everything and decide the fate of Imran Khan.