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Pakistan’s political turmoil on Sunday erupted after Prime Minister Imran Khan escaped an attempt to oust him and seek new elections after parliament was dissolved, prompting opposition parties to call it a betrayal and fight back.
The deputy speaker of parliament, a member of Khan’s party, blocked the opposition’s motion by a vote of confidence in Imran Khan, a move that was widely expected to lead to Khan’s defeat, a foreign conspiracy and unconstitutional, he described.
It thwarted the opposition’s attempt to seize power and prepared for a possible legal battle over the constitution in the country of 220 million people.
Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif wrote on Twitter that blocking the referendum would be “no less treasonous” and that the consequences would be “blatantly and blatantly violating the constitution.”
He added that he hoped the Supreme Court would uphold the Constitution.
“We will sit in the National Assembly (Parliament) and we will go to the Supreme Court today,” Bhutto Zardari, leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, told reporters.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said on Sunday evening that the case would be heard by the court on Monday and any order issued by the President and the Prime Minister would be subject to a court order.
The opposition accuses Khan of failing to revive the economy and eradicate corruption. Khan says the United States planned the operation with the aim of ousting him without providing evidence. Washington denies this.
Khan later said the National Security Council had accepted evidence of his plot.
“While the country’s highest national security body confirms this, the (parliamentary) measures are inappropriate and the numbers inappropriate,” he added.
On Sunday, U.S. officials denied any involvement in the case.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters: “These allegations are untrue. We respect and support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law.”
Since Pakistan’s independence from Britain in 1947, no Prime Minister has completed a full five-year term, and in many cases the Generals have ruled a country with perpetual differences with its nuclear-armed neighbor India.
President Arif Ali Khan, a member of Khan’s party, agreed with the prime minister’s demand that parliament and government be dissolved. Former Information Minister Fouad Chaudhry said Khan would continue as prime minister.
Pakistan’s Information Minister Farq Habib tweeted that new elections would be held in the country within 90 days, but the decision was up to the President and the Election Commission.
Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid has resigned, calling the government’s dissolution of parliament unconstitutional. “One can only expect what happened under the rule of a dictator,” he told local media.
This political war comes at a time when Pakistan is facing high inflation, declining foreign exchange reserves and growing fiscal deficit. The country is subject to the International Monetary Fund’s difficult recovery plan.
Islamabad is also facing international pressure to force the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan to fulfill its human rights obligations, while at the same time seeking to reduce instability there.
Khan lost his parliamentary majority as his allies withdrew from his coalition government and continued to split within his PTI party.
A major newspaper recently reported that Khan was “very close to leaving”, but urged his supporters to take to the streets on Sunday before the referendum was scheduled.
A Reuters witness said police had cordoned off the streets of the capital Islamabad and used container containers to block roads.
Three supporters of Tehreek-e-Insaf, Khan’s ruling party, were arrested by police in front of parliament, but the streets remained quiet.
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