Blaming US, Khan Dissolves Parliament and Stays in Office

Prime minister's maneuvers shock opposition and push Pakistan into crisis
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2022 3:15 PM CDT
Blaming US, Khan Dissolves Parliament and Stays in Office
Lawmakers and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party chant slogans endorsing their leader, Prime Minister Imran Khan, outside the National Assembly, in Islamabad on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Prime Minister Imran Khan dissolved Pakistan's parliament on Sunday, staying in office by preventing a no-confidence vote from taking place. The nation reached a crisis point, as shocked opposition lawmakers said that they would challenge Khan's actions at the Supreme Court, calling them violations of the Constitution. The prime minister's supporters said the court had no authority over the parliament, the New York Times reports, and supported the charges by Khan that a conspiracy backed by the US was working to remove him from office. The court said it will hold a hearing Monday.

Passage of a no-confidence motion probably would have led to a new government being formed, per NPR. Instead, Khan called for new elections, giving him a chance of holding onto power despite the facts that he's lost the military's support and opposition to his administration is increasing. The complaints against him include mismanagement of the economy, inflation, and his foreign policy decisions. "Absolutely unprecedented," said Amber Rahim Shamsi, an analyst. "This is a constitutional crisis."

"Prepare for elections," Khan said in a televised speech to the nation on Sunday. "No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be." He offered no evidence of American interference, and the US has denied involvement. "Friends of America are traitors to their country!" his supporters shouted as they took the floor of Parliament. "It's been a sad day in Pakistan history," said Shehbaz Sharif, the opposition leader who was in line to become prime minister if Khan had been removed. "Nascent democracy has been hit and damaged in a very, very brutal way." (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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