Pakistan’s powerful military and the US remove Imran from power. The vote was a mere formality once the pressure had been applied.
History books will show Pakistan’s political opposition toppled Prime Minister Imran Khan in a no-confidence vote but the reality is different.
On Sunday morning, after several political allies had been turned against the Pakistani prime Minister Imran Khan and a key part of his ruling coalition deserted him. Which meant the opposition had a majority.
The united opposition, which spans the political spectrum from leftists to religious radicals, will form a new government. The unassuming alliance between foes suggest the opposition parties had plenty of help to unite them.
The head of one of the largest parties PPP, the leader dubbed ‘Diesel’ and the brother of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is likely to take over as prime minister if confirmed in a vote Monday.
— Yvonne Ridley – #indyref2 (@yvonneridley) April 11, 2022
Thousands turned out to support him from London, Melbourne and Lahore. The Pakistani people rushed to the streets to show their support for ‘their leader’.
Despite this incredible turnout, Khan’s options are limited, though. But he may try to keep the momentum of street protests as a way to pressure Parliament to hold early elections.
Khan earlier had tried to sidestep the vote by dissolving Parliament and calling for early elections but a Supreme Court ruling ordered the vote must to go ahead.
The US remove Imran from power
Following immense pressure from the army. the chief justice took the unprecedented steps of instructing the supreme court to open its doors at midnight, to act in the event that Khan attempted to obstruct the no-confidence vote from going ahead.
The vote comes amid cooling relations between Khan and Pakistan’s powerful military, which many of his political opponents allege helped him come to power in general elections in 2018.
Khan was trying to “remove the chief of the army staff for the furtherance of political interests” were also stated in a legal petition filed to the Islamabad high court by the lawyer Adnan Iqbal on Saturday night.
While Khan’s rise to power had the backing of Pakistan’s powerful armed forces, in recent months there had been increasingly discord between him and the military establishment over a senior military appointment.
The military has directly ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 75 years and wields considerable power over civilian governments and has influence over every Pakistani institution.
In some ways, this alliance between Imran and the army were due to clash at some point. Imran vehemently fought corruption and wanted to remove its dependency on the US and the Pakistani army.
In seeking Khan’s removal, the opposition had accused him of economic mismanagement as inflation soared and the Pakistani rupee plummeted in value.
The no-confidence vote caps months of political turmoil and a constitutional crisis that required the Supreme Court to step in.
Why did the Army turn on Imran?
But it all began when Imran Khan defied the US by saying that he would not allow US troops to conduct operations in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil again. This statement did not resonate well with Washington and the Pakistani Army.
Earlier this year, Washington opposed Khan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. Whilst not supporting the invasion, he did not vote or condemn the Ukrainian invasion, as the ‘ US instructed.’
Instead, the Pakistani Premier took to the streets to rally his nation on the back of US pressure and the impending no-confidence vote.
Thousands of Pakistanis turned up to support their leader, where he claimed ‘Pakistan is independent, friends with everyone, but servants to no one.’ This received huge cheers from the crowd and also on social media.
That irked the US administration, who immediately turned the heat on the Pakistani army. No deal or meddling could be done without the Pakistani army’s approval first.
The power of the Pakistani military
The power of the Pakistani military is rooted in all institutions. Former retired army staff hold positions of power in civilian and political posts that cross the realm of politics, commerce and the judiciary.
A key ally to the CIA, the army is a direct beneficiary of the aid that is received by the US administration, so their ties go back to the time of the Russian and Afghanistan war.
The plot to remove Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was hatched last year
In December 2021, the Pakistani army had been appeased, the US administration began ‘meddling’ when they met with the opposition parties and made promises of prosperity; only if the opposition united and ousted Imran Khan.
Ahead of the vote, a member of Khan’s Cabinet referred to an earlier claim by Khan that Pakistani diplomats in Washington were told by a senior US official that relations would improve if Khan was ousted.
In an impassioned speech Friday, Khan doubled down on his accusations that his opponents colluded with the United States to unseat him over his foreign policy choices, which favoured Pakistan’s national interest, not the United States.
As expected the US State Department has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s internal politics, but with the thousands that have come out to support Imran globally, this move by the US may backfire.
— Kristiane Backer (@KristianeBacker) April 10, 2022