Pakistan President dissolves national assembly on PM’s advice
03 April 2022, 06:08 pm
Pakistan will go to the polls to elect a new government within three months after Prime Minister Imran Khan foiled an attempt to boot him from office Sunday by getting the President to dissolve the national assembly.
On a day of high drama, the assembly deputy speaker refused to accept a motion of no confidence in the government, as Imran Khan appeared on TV to say there had been ‘foreign interference’ in Pakistan’s democratic institutions.
“I have sent advice to the president to dissolve the assemblies. We will go to the public and hold elections, and let the nation decide,” he said.
The presidency - a largely ceremonial office - acceded hours later.
No Prime Minister of Pakistan has ever completed a full term, and Khan has been facing the biggest challenge to his rule since being elected in 2018, with opponents accusing him of economic mismanagement and bungling foreign policy.
On Sunday, parliament was due to debate a no-confidence motion that looked certain to succeed, but the deputy speaker - an Imran Khan loyalist - refused to accept it, causing uproar in the chamber.
The move appeared to blindside the opposition, who had confidently predicted they had enough votes to boot Khan from office.
“This day will be remembered as a black day in Pakistan’s constitutional history,” said Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, who had been tipped to replace Khan if the vote had succeeded.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) effectively lost its majority in the 342-member assembly last week when a coalition partner said its seven lawmakers would vote with the opposition.
More than a dozen PTI members had also indicated they would cross the floor.
Imran has accused the opposition of conspiring with ‘foreign powers’ to remove him because he will not take the West’s side on global issues against Russia and China.
Earlier this week he accused the United States of meddling in Pakistan’s affairs.