04/04/2022, 00.00
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Imran Khan cancels no-confidence vote and dissolves parliament

The PM has opened a constitutional crisis in Islamabad accusing the United States of plotting his political demise. He no longer holds the numbers in parliament. Supreme Court to rule on the legitimacy of the measures.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistan is grappling with a serious institutional crisis after Sunday, April 3, when the vice-president of parliament Qasim Suri, a loyalist of Prime Minister Imran Khan, removed the motion of no confidence  from the agenda. The motion had been presented against the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), after the withdrawal of some deputiesdeprived it of a majority in the assembly.

The move was motivated by article 5 of the constitution that imposes the obligation of loyalty to the State, supporting the thesis - repeated in these days by Imran Khan - that behind the parliamentary defections of his coalition there would be an international conspiracy led by the United States. An argument - rejected by Washington - that would be intertwined with his recent visit to Moscow in the midst of the Ukrainian invasion and the increasingly close economic ties between Islamabad and Beijing.

Having obtained the cancellation of the no-confidence vote, Imran Khan has also received from President Arif Alvi, another member of his party, the dissolution of parliament with the consequent calling of elections within 90 days, one year ahead of the end of the legislature scheduled for 2023.

However, the opposition has turned to the Supreme Court, contesting the illegitimacy of the cancellation of the vote of no-confidence. A ruling on the matter is expected in the day, while in the country tension rises. The newspaper Dawn in an editorial speaks explicitly of "democracy subverted" by the former cricket champion who does not respect the rules of the game.

Imran Khan's government had already been in trouble for some time due to the serious economic situation of the country, on its knees due to the increase in inflation that has driven up the prices of essential goods. And behind the defections in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) there would be the distrust of the army, a key player in the internal balance of the country.

On Saturday, April 2 - the day before the expected vote of no-confidence, just as Khan was calling on TV for his followers to defend him in the streets - the Chief of Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, reaffirming the "neutrality" of the armed forces with respect to the political conflict, eloquently condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine ("it must stop immediately") and recalled the "historical and excellent strategic relations with the United States", in open contrast with the words of Imran Khan.

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