Pakistan news reports embattled prime minister Imran Khan has been ousted from office in a no-confidence vote early Sunday after several of Khan’s key allies deserted him.
The head of one of the largest parties, the Pakistani Muslim League, Shehbaz Sharif will take over as prime minister.
Anticipating his loss, Khan, blamed the opposition for colluding with the United States to unseat him. Khan has called on his supporters to stage rallies nationwide on Sunday.
Earlier, Imran Khan had tried to avoid the vote by dissolving Parliament and calling early elections, but the Supreme Court ruled that the vote must proceed.
Several of Khan’s political opponents claim that he got to power through the military’s help during the 2018 elections. The vote comes amid a cooling relationship between Khan and the military.
For more than half of its 75 years, Pakistan has been ruled directly by the military. The military wields considerable power over civil governments, who fear a disgruntled army could unseat them.
Pakistan Supreme Court Ruling
According to the opposition, Khan’s ousting is due to economic mismanagement, as inflation soars and the rupee plunges. After months of political turmoil and a constitutional crisis, the Supreme Court sorted things out.
During an impassioned speech Friday, Khan renewed his charges that his opponents colluded with the United States to unseat him over his foreign policy choices. These choices often appeared to favor China and Russia while defying the United States.
Khan said the White House was opposed to his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24, hours after tanks rolled into Ukraine. This resulted in a devastating war in the heart of Eastern Europe.
Several of Khan’s lawmakers addressed Parliament ahead of the vote to express outrage over a letter Khan allegedly told of a senior U.S. official who said Washington’s relations with Pakistan would improve if Khan were ousted. The human rights minister Shireen Mazari said the memo named Khan and said that if he was removed from power, “all will be forgiven.”
US State Department officials have denied any involvement in Pakistan’s internal politics. Jalina Porter, a Deputy State Department spokesperson, said there is “absolutely no truth” to these allegations.
Despite this, Khan called on his supporters to take to the streets, especially the youth, who have been the backbone of his support since he came to power last year. He urged them to stand up against U.S. dictations and protect Pakistan’s sovereignty.
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