Pakistan’s president disbanded the National Assembly on Sunday, preventing Prime Minister Imran Khan from being deposed after a no-confidence resolution was rejected by the legislative body’s deputy speaker.
“The president of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, has approved the prime minister’s advice to dissolve the National Assembly,” Alvi’s office stated in a statement.
As a result of the move, new elections must be held within 90 days.
The opposition in Pakistan has condemned the actions, calling them a breach of the country’s constitution. Shehbaz Sharif, the leader of the opposition in the dissolved national assembly, claimed, “Imran Khan has pushed the country into anarchy.”
Khan received widespread public support when he was elected in 2018, but detractors have accused him of failing to deliver on promises to revive the economy and improve the lives of the underprivileged.
Pakistan is currently dealing with rising inflation, severe debt, and a depreciating currency. In recent weeks, opposition to Khan has grown, culminating in a call for a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
No-confidence vote blocked
If the no-confidence vote had taken occurred, Khan was generally expected to lose his job as prime minister.
When lawmakers convened to vote on the resolution, Qasim Suri, the deputy speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly, halted the vote, claiming that it violated the country’s constitution.
“In accordance with the constitution, I rule out this no-confidence motion,” said Suri, a Khan supporter, as the session began.
Just minutes afterward, Khan replied to the proceedings, stating he had persuaded the president to disband the assemblies. “When the president receives the advice, the assemblies will be dissolved, and the process of forming a caretaker administration will begin,” Khan said in a televised speech.
“I urge everyone to get ready for the upcoming elections. ‘Thank God, a plot to destabilize the government failed,’ Khan remarked in his speech.
The opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has threatened to fight back with a legislative sit-in. Bhutto Zardari informed Pakistani media, “We are also headed to the Supreme Court today.”
Imran Khan blames the US
Since Pakistan’s independence from Britain in 1947, no prime minister has served a complete five-year term, and the country has seen multiple military coups, both successful and unsuccessful. The country has been ruled by the army for more than three decades.
Khan has blamed “foreign” forces for his domestic political woes, accusing the opposition of plotting against him with the US.
He claims that Washington is trying to get rid of him because of his ties to China and Russia. Khan’s claims have been refuted by the US government.