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Uproar as Pakistani leader Imran Khan dodges a no-confidence vote and dissolves parliament

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Pakistan has plunged into political uncertainty after the prime minister dodged a vote of no confidence in him and instead dissolved parliament to call new elections.

Mran Khan dodged the widely predicted end of his post as prime minister when the deputy speaker unexpectedly refused to accept the motion against him, sparking an uproar in the chamber.

The former cricketer then dissolved the National Assembly and urged the country to prepare for elections, repeating his accusation that the motion against him was a foreign conspiracy.

Mr Khan told the nation minutes into his grace period: “I am asking people to prepare for the next election. Thank God a conspiracy to overthrow the government failed.”

The move sparked a constitutional row with his opponents, who immediately asked the country’s Supreme Court to reinstate the no-confidence motion.

Shehbaz Sharif, opposition leader in the assembly, accused the prime minister of “nothing short of high treason”.

He said: “Imran Khan has plunged the country into anarchy. Mr Khan and his cohort must not get off scot-free.

“There will be consequences for the blatant and brazen breach of the constitution. I hope the Supreme Court lives up to its role in upholding the Constitution.”

After a day of political drama, it was unclear whether Mr Khan’s move would save him. The chief justice said the Supreme Court will hear arguments from both sides today.

“This is an urgent matter,” Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said. “Notices will be issued to all political parties and state officials.” A minister, meanwhile, said the elections would be held within 90 days.

Mr Khan’s parliamentary support has dwindled in recent weeks with a torrent of deserters and defectors. His opponents last week were confident they had enough support to overthrow him.

Mr Khan, meanwhile, has denounced the attempt to evict him as a foreign conspiracy backed by local traitors.

He has indicated Washington wants to oust him because it is angry at his determination to pursue an independent foreign policy and maintain good relations with China and Russia.

A US spokesman said there was “no truth” to such claims. “We respect and support the constitutional process and the rule of law in Pakistan.”

It had been widely expected that 69-year-old Khan, a national cricket hero, would lose the vote and be replaced by the opposition’s Mr Sharif.

But as the session began, Fawad Chaudhry, the information minister, asked the deputy spokesman to reject the motion, claiming it was the result of collusion with foreign powers seeking “regime change”.

Deputy spokesman Qasim Khan Suri – a close ally of the prime minister – said the minister had raised “valid” points, adding that “no foreign power should be allowed to overthrow an elected government by conspiracy”.

He rejected the motion and adjourned Parliament. Minutes later, Mr Khan gave a national address in which he said he had advised the President to dissolve Parliament.

No prime minister has completed a full five-year term since Pakistan’s independence from Britain in 1947, and generals have ruled the country on several occasions, which is constantly at odds with its nuclear-armed neighbor India. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/middle-east/uproar-as-pakistan-leader-imran-khan-dodges-a-vote-of-no-confidence-and-dissolves-parliament-41517025.html Uproar as Pakistani leader Imran Khan dodges a no-confidence vote and dissolves parliament

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