Delhi: In quite a surprising move, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday stunned the Opposition by recommending fresh elections, within minutes of the dismissal of the no-trust motion against him in the Pakistan National Assembly.
Here is a 10 point cheat sheet to understand what is happening in Pakistan, and what will happen next
- What happened in the Assembly: Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri dismissed the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition against Prime Minister Khan, terming it against the Constitution and rules of Pakistan. “The no-confidence should be according to the Constitution of and rules of the country. Since it is not as pointed out by the Law Minister, so I reject the no-confidence motion,” Suri ruled, amid vociferous protest by Opposition lawmakers.
- Elections will be held in Pakistan in 90 days: “Prepare for elections. No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be. When the assemblies will be dissolved, the procedure for the next elections and the caretaker government will begin,” Pak’s 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician PM said after the dismissal. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that President Alvi has dissolved the National Assembly as per the advice of the prime minister. He said the election will be held within 90 days.
- Imran Khan will continue as caretaker PM: Imran Khan will continue as the caretaker Prime Minister of the nation till the next elections.
- Army versus the Govt: Pakistan army has denied any role in today’s developments in Pakistan national assembly. “Absolutely not. Whatever happened today, Army has no role in it,” said Babar Iftikhar, Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations, in response to a question on Dissolution of National Assembly of Pakistan, this afternoon.
- PM Imran Khan had skipped the assembly session today, despite deciding earlier to attend the session. His supporters were seen on the streets, protesting as he asked them to earlier.
- Pakistan SC takes suo-moto notice of dissolution of national assembly: Pakistan Supreme Court takes suo-moto notice of dissolution of Assembly by President Arif Alvi. The opposition termed the entire process to reject no-confidence against the prime minister and dissolution of assembly against the constitution and its lawmakers refused to leave the premises of the parliament house. “We are going to challenge the ruling by the deputy speaker and advice by the prime minister to dissolve parliament in the Supreme Court,” said Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the parliament. The combined opposition filed the no-confidence motion on March 8.
- A US conspiracy?: Imran Khan claims the US is leading a conspiracy to remove him because of his criticism of US policy and other foreign policy decisions he has taken. Imran Khan may now ask for votes in the name of running an independent foreign policy till elections are held in the next 90 days.
- The political turmoil also caused the country’s security agencies to lock down the capital of Islamabad. Giant metal containers blocked roads and entrances to the capital’s diplomatic enclave and to Parliament and other sensitive government installations in the capital. A defiant Khan had called for supporters to stage demonstrations countrywide.
- Political chaos also spread to the country’s largest Punjab province where it is set to vote for a new chief minister. Khan’s choice faced a tough challenge and his opponents claimed they had enough votes to install their choice. With 60% of Pakistan’s 220 million people living in Punjab, it is considered the most powerful of the country’s four provinces.
- Pakistan’s military has directly ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 75-year history, overthrowing successive democratically elected governments. For the remainder of that time it has indirectly manipulated elected governments from the sidelines. No PM had served a full term in the nation before.