In the history of Pakistan, none of their Prime Ministers completed the full 5-year term. When Imran Khan became the Prime Minister, people believed that he would be the first Prime Minister to complete his term. But it didn’t happen. Imran Khan’s government has now fallen.
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“Pakistan’s Prime Minister, the former cricketer Imran Khan, has been ousted from power after losing the vote of No-Confidence in Parliament.” “74 members have recorded a vote in favour of the resolution. It has been passed by a majority of the total membership of the National Assembly.” “Meanwhile, Imran Khan has accused the US, of conspiring to topple him over his ties with Russia and China.”
While India had the General Elections in 2019, Pakistan had their General Elections the year before, in 2018. Traditionally, there have been 2 main parties in India for a long time, Congress and BJP.
In Pakistan’s 2018 General Elections, two traditional parties faced off. PMLN. With Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shehbaz Sharif at the helm. And PPP. With Bilawal Bhutto Zardari heading it. Along with them, there was a third contesting party. PTI. The name means ‘Movement for Justice.’ And this party was being led by Imran Khan.
Imran Khan is a famous Pakistani cricketer, he led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. The only World Cup won by Pakistan till now. If you look at Pakistan’s political situation in 2018, Imran Khan was being said to be a new hope. The two traditional parties were accused of nepotism and corruption. PPP’s chief, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is the son of the former PM Benazir Bhutto, and the former President Asif Ali Zardari. And Benazir Bhutto is the daughter of the former PM, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
On the other hand, PMLN Party’s image was tainted with accusations of corruption. In 2017, Nawaz Sharif was removed from the post of PM. By the Supreme Court of Pakistan. There were allegations of corruption against him after the Panama Paper leak. And there were several other corruption cases too. In July 2018, he was sentenced to 10-years in jail, on the charges of purchase of upscale apartments in London.
Six months later, he was again sentenced to 7-years’ imprisonment and a fine of $25 million, because he couldn’t prove how he got the ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia. In the midst of such news, was Imran Khan. He asked the people to vote for him, and he promised that there would be no corruption and no nepotism. For many people, Imran Khan came across as the last hope for Pakistan. At the same time, he had some critics too. Imran Khan is an Oxford graduate, he played international cricket, has had 3 love marriages.
The first was with a British Jewish billionaire’s daughter. An inter-religious marriage. After hearing this, you’d assume that he’s very open-minded, that he’d be a secular, liberal person. Not quite. Imran Khan was asked if he supports the rights of Ahmadi Muslims, he answered that he doesn’t consider the Ahmadis to be Muslims. That he considers them non-Muslims.
In case you don’t know, Ahmadi Muslims, consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet. “A person who doesn’t believe our Prophet to be the last Prophet, he isn’t a Muslim. That’s why, saying that I’m being discriminatory against them, and trying to change the provisions of the Constitution, is a total lie, it’s propaganda.” And, in his election campaigns, he had heavily defended Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
Pakistan’s Article 295C, provides for a death penalty for those who malign Prophet Mohammed. Imran Khan used right-wing jingoistic nationalism too. Nationalism is loving one’s country. Jingoistic Nationalism is when one starts hating other countries. Indian media uses this a lot.
And in the 2018 campaigns, Imran Khan’s party used such slogans too. “Modi sympathisers are traitors” They even claimed that international establishments and India were working together to ensure victory for Sharif’s party. It’s the same as when some political parties in India accuse other political parties as being supported by Pakistan. That they’re controlled by Pakistan. Anyway, despite all of this,
In the 2018 General Elections, Imran Khan’s party PTI, was #1. They won 155 seats. 4 times more than they won in the previous elections in 2013. Amazing performance.
Because of corruption and nepotism, both traditional parties lost terribly. Shahbaz Sharif’s PMLN won 84 seats, and on the 3rd spot was Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s PPP. With 56 seats. These details are important to understanding the current political crisis.
So there are 342 seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly in total. So the majority mark is 172. Despite being the #1 party, PTI couldn’t cross the 172 mark. They had only 155 seats. Imran Khan formed a collation with some small parties and independent parties, and with their help, he could get 178 seats. Doing so helped him form a government, but he was only slightly beyond the majority mark. Only 6 seats more than the majority mark.
It wasn’t a strong government. And so we come to the present scenario. On 8th March, about a month ago, the senior leaders of the opposition parties, presented to the National Assembly, their demand for a No-Confidence vote against Imran Khan. The thing is that, over the last few years, almost all opposition parties in Pakistan have joined forces.
They created an alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement. (PDM) This alliance is a catch-all collation. There are no set ideologies of this alliance. It has parties of all kinds. From the left wing to the extreme right wing. Secular parties like Balochistan National Party and National Party,
And parties like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Jamiat Ahle Hadith such religious conservative parties too. Also, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party a party that talks about Marxism and democratic socialism.
And parties like Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) who talk about free-market capitalism. They’re all in it. This alliance began joint opposition rallies about 1.5 years ago, and raised the issues of the people. They talked about problems that Pakistan faces even today.
Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Mariyam Nawaz, addressed the rallies, saying that Imran Khan has taken away jobs from the people. People don’t even have food to last them 2 days. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Pakistan’s farmers are starving. And the youth of the country is furious. There were large crowds at these rallies.
Overall, inflation, unemployment, power cuts, businesses closing down, were the issues used by the opposition against Imran Khan. And so, we get to March 2021. Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, contested elections for the Senate.
There’s a Senate in Pakistan, it is equivalent to India’s Rajya Sabha. But there are some differences between India’s and Pakistan’s legislative structures. The National Assembly votes for the elections to the Senate. And Pakistan’s National Assembly is equivalent to India’s Lok Sabha.
Abdul Hafiz Sheikh lost his Senate seat even though Imran Khan campaigned for him. It was won by the PDM candidate Yusuf Raza Ghilani, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
This was a major shock to Imran Khan’s government. The Finance Minister of the government lost the elections, even though PM Imran Khan was campaigning for him.
The opposition used this to ask Imran Khan to resign. Because Imran Khan had lost the confidence of the National Assembly. Seeing this happen, Imran Khan called for a Voluntary Vote of Confidence.
He asked the Parliament to vote to see if his government should continue to be in power or not. Whether a majority of the MNAs,
Members of the National Assembly,
In India, we refer to them as MPs,
Members of Parliament. While they call them MNAs, Members of National Assembly. This was the second time in Pakistan’s history, when a Prime Minister asked for a vote of confidence in the National Assembly.
In this vote, Imran Khan proved his majority with 178 votes once again. It was clear that the MNAs with whom Imran Khan had formed the government, all of them still supported his government.
But now, one year later. The tables have turned. This time, instead of Imran Khan, the opposition demanded a vote of confidence. They presented this demand on 8th March. On 10th March, Islamabad Police, raided the Parliament lodges.
Opposition politicians were dragged away and arrested by the police. The opposition protested against the government because of this incident, this brutality. The way the opposition politicians were treated. “Arrests have begun.
The ones present in the Parliament Lodges are being arrested. They have started arresting the JUI-F workers present here.” The Interior Minister of Pakistan claimed that it was important to do so, because the members of the opposition were bringing in crowds to the Parliament. They were calling in mobs.
He claimed that JUI-F brought in 70 workers while no one is allowed to have a private militia. In the midst of all this, Pakistan’s Army, which has a large influence on Pakistan’s politics,
I talked about this in an interview it has been about 3-4 years, Pakistan’s Army looked at this situation, and decided to be neutral. They didn’t choose any side. This angered Imran Khan.
In his speech, he said, This was a big blow to Imran Khan, because it was believed that he was in power because of Pakistan’s Army and ISI’s support. And was keeping the opposition in check. Then on 18th March, came another blow to Imran Khan. His party members started revolting against him. PTI’s rebel MNA, Raja Riaz, told news outlets, that about 24 politicians in PTI, were ready to leave their party.
We’re about 2 dozen people. -24? -Yes, sir. -And they’re related to PTI -Yes, they’re from PTI. -Twenty four? -Twenty four.”
It meant that without their support, Imran Khan’s government would fall. He said that most of those politicians were in the Sindh House in Islamabad. Raja said that he was disappointed with their Prime Minister. There was a gas shortage in his constituency, he talked to the PM about it, but nothing was done to address it. After this interview, Imran Khan replied by saying that the Sindh House where the politicians were staying at, had become a centre for horse-trading. When the news reached more people, Imran Khan’s supporters, the PTI party workers, went to the Sindh House in a group, raised some slogans in favour of Imran Khan, and accused the rebel MNAs to have sold off their conscience.
They climbed over the wall and entered the Sindh House. The next day, on 19th March, Imran Khan said that the rebel politicians in his party have agreed to stay with the party. On 20th March, Imran Khan gave them an offer; if all of them went back to PTI, they would be forgiven.
But on 22nd March, the rebel MNAs rejected the offer of forgiveness. On the contrary, an MNA, Dr Ramesh Kumar said that the number of rebel politicians had increased. He said that there were 35 politicians who wanted to leave their party.
Ramesh Kumar said that crimes against minorities are on a rise in Pakistan. “Earlier, on your program, we said that there are 33 members, today, 35 members, an increase of 2 members, 35 members are showing their grievance with the party right now, that these are our grievances, That these are the things we discussed, but nothing has been done for the minority.”
Ahmed Hussain said that the Prime Minister had stopped listening to the people. Inflation is on a steep rise in the country. There are more and more difficulties for the masses. Pulses, flour, butter, sugar, the prices of all are rising. The rebel MNAs were issued Show Cause Notices by Imran Khan’s government.
According to the Article 63A of Pakistan’s Constitution, the MNAs of a party aren’t allowed to easily defect to another party. There are many restrictions on that. But these MNAs replied that they hadn’t left the party. That they haven’t left PTI, and neither did they join another party.
For Imran Khan, the problem was that, even if the MNAs didn’t defect to another party,
even if they were disqualified, Imran Khan would still fall short of the majority mark. More problems ensued on 23rd March. Till then, politicians of Imran Khan’s party were creating problems, but starting then, the collation parties started creating problems too.
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Three collation parties started saying that They would stop supporting Imran Khan’s government. The first was the PML-Q, a breakaway faction of the Pakistan Muslim League. The second, MQM-P. And the third was the BAP.
Balochistan Awami Party. They had a total of 17 seats. So what could Imran Khan have done to save his government? He tried to woo the collation parties. On 28th March, the PML-Q leader was offered the post of Punjab’s CM.
The Punjab in Pakistan. The post of the Chief Minister of that state was offered to the leader of this collation. By doing so, he retained PML-Q’s favour. MQM-P was offered the Ministry of Ports and Shipping.
But on 30th March, this party signed an agreement with the opposition. Imran Khan replied to this by saying that he plays till the last ball. That he would fight till the last ball to save his government. After this point in time, Imran Khan, starting building conspiracy theories about foreign involvement.
He said that because he had gone to Russia, America was infuriated over his Russian visit, that’s why America is trying to topple his government.
In fact, he claimed that all the opposition members had teamed up with America. That they have tied up with the USA to overthrow his government. The US State Department and the opposition refuted this accusation. They claim that Imran Khan is making things up. This is something that the leaders of many countries resort to. Once they’ve failed and there are no more excuses,
they start blaming foreign countries. After this, came 3rd April. The day the Vote of Confidence was supposed to be held in the Assembly. On this day, Imran Khan didn’t appear before the National Assembly. But his conspiracy theory about foreign involvement was now taken up by his Law Minister too.
The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, was from his party. He said that because there is foreign involvement there cannot be a No-Confidence vote based on that.
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He invoked Article 5 of Pakistan’s Constitution. It states that a No-Confidence vote is illegal if there’s an involvement of foreign powers. There was no solid evidence supporting it. 2 days later, it was reported that on that day, the Speaker of the Assembly wasn’t present.
And it was said by the Deputy Speaker. And the Speaker wasn’t present because he wasn’t in favour of the Article 5 ruling. After this ruling, Imran Khan advised the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, to dissolve the entire Assembly, and conduct fresh elections in Pakistan. And their President did so.
Because the President is like a rubber stamp he doesn’t have many powers. Till this point in the story, you would feel that it was a happy ending for Imran Khan. That he saved his government by calling for fresh elections.
But seeing this happen, the Cheif Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, took suo moto cognizance of this matter, meaning, he brought this matter to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court didn’t prolong the proceeding. Neither was the Supreme Court cowed by the government.
Rather, Pakistan’s Supreme Court showed brilliant independence of the Judiciary. On 7th April, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, passed a unanimous verdict.
They said that the actions of Imran Khan’s government were unconstitutional. They could not dismiss the No-Confidence Vote with such tactics. The fresh elections being called for was declared null and void by them. And the demand of the opposition parties for a Vote of Confidence, was held valid and given permission to be held.
Then came 9th April. The day of the Vote of Confidence. As expected, Imran Khan’s government lost this vote. The majority mark was 172, and the opposition won 174 votes.
An interesting fact here, Imran Khan actually became the first Prime Minister in Pakistan, to be ousted by a No-Confidence Vote. Strictly speaking, if a Prime Minister needs to be removed before the end of the term, constitutionally, this is the only way to do so.
So in a way, this political crisis in Pakistan, is good news for Pakistan’s democracy. Supreme Court acted independently. There was no interference from the army. And the Prime Minister was removed constitutionally.
It’s said that Shehbaz Sharif can be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. I talked about him at the beginning. Overall, this situation isn’t terribly bad for Imran Khan yet.
It’s true that he has been removed from the post, but Pakistan’s General Elections is only a year and a half away. Imran Khan wanted the Assembly to be dissolved now, and fresh elections to be called.
Because he believes that the people still support him. And if this is true, there will be elections in 1-1.5 years, Imran Khan can wait for 1.5 years. If Pakistan’s people really support him, he will win the next elections.
By not accepting the No-Confidence Vote, Imran Khan is ruining his image.
Here, I’m reminded of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He lost the Vote of Confidence in 1999 by 1 vote. With only 1 vote, his government was overthrown. But he didn’t use any conspiracy of foreign involvement,
he gracefully accepted this decision, and he stepped down from the position of the Prime Minister. Months later when the elections were held again, he was back in power with a stable majority. That’s why I believe that Imran Khan should accept the result.
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