Experiencing a political crisis has become second nature for the people of Pakistan. After a vote of no confidence in the Parliament, the country’s iconic Prime Minister Imran Khan was forced to resign. This was a major blow to Khan, who came to power in 2018 promising to clean up Pakistan’s politics like never before.
After days of high drama, he was dismissed from office by a no-confidence vote, becoming the first-ever Prime Minister in the country’s 74-year history to be sent home after losing the House’s trust.
The plot was as intense as any good web series with twists coming around each corner. The no-confidence vote was originally scheduled for April 3rd in the Parliament, but deputy speaker Qasim Suri, a member of Khan’s political party, quickly vetoed it, claiming that it demonstrated “foreign meddling.” Mr. Suri also said that it was against the constitution, which required state allegiance. Khan’s government then proceeded to dissolve the Parliament and call for an immediate democratic election. Several opposition members were enraged by this, with some accusing the Prime Minister of treason for delaying the vote.
The Supreme Court was petitioned by members of the opposition to review the issue. Pakistan’s highest court declared on Thursday that Khan’s move to postpone the vote was illegal and thus, ordered that the vote of no confidence be held immediately. He was also accused of pandering to extremist Islamic organizations, religious violence, and the rise in public lynchings of persons convicted of blasphemy during his tenure.
Nonetheless, Khan still has a sizable following and is anticipated to run for the next elections, albeit without the military establishment’s implicit support. “My message to our people is that I have always and will continue to fight for Pakistan till the last ball,” Khan stated on Twitter following the Supreme Court’s decision.
Indeed, his transformation from a national hero in cricket to a charismatic politician who, after years of battle, succeeded in displacing the two entrenched political dynasties that had ruled Pakistan for decades, deserves a mention in the annals of the country’s political history.
As a state known for regularly ousting democratically elected leaders from office, Imran Khan’s popularity seemed to be invincible. He also had the clear backing of Pakistan’s powerful military and with the US withdrawing its army from Afghanistan, Khan was looking at a golden political era with the Taliban at his side.
Conspiracy theories against the US, Pakistan’s affiliation to Russia, and uncontrolled inflation may have been the final nails in Imran Khan’s political coffin, but it’s his iconic image that has received the biggest blow. Only time will tell if he will ever be able to come back as an influential Pakistani politician. Unless he can break free of the military’s expectations and of populist anti-Western rhetoric, Imran Khan will remain a mere flash in Pakistan’s political history.
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