Pakistan MPs to elect new PM after Imran Khan’s ouster: NPR


Pakistan’s Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif speaks at a press conference after the Supreme Court ruling in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 7, 2022.

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Pakistan’s Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif speaks at a press conference after the Supreme Court ruling in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 7, 2022.

Anjum Naveed / AB

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan lawmakers are set to elect a new prime minister on Monday, ending a tumultuous week of political drama, ousting Imran Khan as prime minister and averting a constitutional crisis shortly after he entered the country’s Supreme Court.

Leading contender Shahbaz Sharif is a member of the opposition legislature and brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But his election does not guarantee a clear path forward – nor will it solve Pakistan’s many economic problems, including high inflation and a rising energy crisis.

Khan, a former cricket star, was sacked early Sunday after failing in a no-confidence vote in parliament over his conservative Islamic ideology and his three-year and eight-month tenure in office. Abandoned by his party allies and a key coalition partner, his opposition Khan was ousted by 174 votes – two more than the required simple majority in the 342-seat National Assembly.

Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections.

Millions rallied for Khan

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Pakistan Justice Party, has fielded Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a former foreign minister and experienced politician. But Qureshi slammed into the water on Sunday, saying several lawmakers in Khan’s party were considering resigning from parliament after Monday’s vote for prime minister.

To the strength and precursor of political uncertainty, Khan rallied hundreds of thousands of supporters late Sunday to protest his ouster and describe the next government as an “imposed government.” In cities across Pakistan, Khan’s supporters rallied and waved big party flags in support. The youth, who are the backbone of Khan’s supporters, dominated the crowd.

Some were crying, while others raised slogans that Khan would be back.


On Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Karachi, Pakistan, supporters of the ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party rallied to condemn the removal of their leader’s government.

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On Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Karachi, Pakistan, supporters of the ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party rallied to condemn the removal of their leader’s government.

Fareed Khan / AB

Although the vote did not take place before August 2023, Khan called for early elections. He stirred up anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, accusing Washington of conspiring with his opponents to overthrow him. His conspiracy theory resonates with his young support base, which often unjustly targets Washington’s 9/11 war on terror.

Pakistan’s political drama began on April 3, when Khan boycotted the initial no – confidence vote demanded by the opposition by dissolving parliament and calling early elections. The opposition, which accused Khan of economic misconduct, appealed to the Supreme Court. After four days of debate, the court ordered the re-establishment of parliament and a no-confidence vote took place. After a marathon parliamentary session that began on Saturday, parliamentary speaker Assad Kaiser resigned. Khan was expelled early Sunday morning.

Khan says he was overthrown by the opposition, along with Washington, because of his pro-China, pro-Russian foreign policy. He was also criticized for his visit to Moscow on February 24, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.

The US State Department has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s internal politics.

The path of the opposition is not clear

The path forward will be a storm for the opposition coalition with parties that will cross the political divide from the left to extreme religion. The two major parties are the Pakistan Muslim League, led by Sharif and the Pakistan People’s Party, led by the son and husband of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

In Pakistan, a few rich and powerful families have dominated politics for decades, with power often shifting between sheriffs and Bhutto camps. Both political organizations have been accused of widespread corruption and occasionally convicted – and both have denied the allegations.

Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court in 2015 as guilty of financial irregularities known as the Panama Papers – a collection of leaked secret financial documents involving how some of the world’s richest people hid their money and the global law firm. Based in Panama. He was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari, who became Pakistan’s president after the 2008 election, has been jailed for more than seven years on corruption charges.

Both families have denied allegations of corruption against them as politically motivated.

Khan came to power in 2018 and promised to break the family rule in Pakistan, but his opponents said he won the election with the help of the powerful army that has ruled Pakistan for half of its 75-year history.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a military coup in 1999 and Benazir Bhutto’s government was repeatedly ousted because the military sided with his opposition. In Pakistani politics, loyalty is often fluid, with Bhutto’s fierce opposition coming from the Sharif’s party.

Shahbaz Sharif has served three terms as the head of Pakistan’s largest, most influential Punjab province, home to 60% of the country’s 220 million people. His son Hamza was elected as the new Chief Minister by the Punjab Provincial Parliament last week, ousting Khan’s candidate. Khan’s party is challenging that election and the junior sheriff is not yet in office.

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