This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Pakistan’s prime minister skirts effort to oust him, orders Parliament dissolved for elections
Pakistan’s embattled prime minister, Imran Khan, outmaneuvered his political opponents Sunday as they attempted to oust him from power through a vote of no confidence. Within two hours, Parliament had been dissolved at Khan’s request so the country can prepare for new elections.
Khan orchestrated an abrupt suspension of the expected no-confidence vote by the legislature’s acting speaker, a member of his party, then immediately announced on live TV that new elections would be held.
As an uproar spread through the legislative chamber, furious opposition leaders accused Khan of treason and declared they would immediately go to the Supreme Court to demand that the vote be held as planned.
By late afternoon, however, the court had taken no action to challenge the vote cancellation and the shuttering of Parliament, which Pakistan’s president ordered to prepare for elections.
Opposition leaders, as of Saturday, had gathered enough supporting votes among legislators to oust Khan from power as he struggled to manage spiraling inflation and other domestic crises. But Khan, 69, a charismatic former cricket star who won office in 2018 after campaigning to reform a corrupt political system and bring justice to all Pakistanis, blamed the effort to oust him on a foreign conspiracy that he claimed was backed by the United States.
He had vowed to resist the no-confidence measure and called on supporters Saturday to hold peaceful protests across the country.