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Pakistan’s army says it has no role in current political turmoil

Security personnel patrol in front of the Parliament House building in Islamabad, Pakistan, on April 3, 2022, as Prime Minister Imran Khan called on his supporters to take to the streets ahead of a parliamentary no-confidence vote. (Photo by AFP)

Pakistan’s army says it has nothing to do with the current political turmoil that has engulfed the country.

This after Prime Minister Imran Khan dodged an attempt to remove him on Sunday.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistani military’s media wing, said in a statement on Sunday, “We have nothing to do with what has happened today (in parliament).”

President Arif Alvi of Pakistan has dissolved the parliament on the prime minister’s advice.

Khan has called for fresh elections in the wake of a no-confidence motion brought by the joint opposition, which was dismissed by the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

The deputy speaker declared the motion unconstitutional, saying it is part of a plot by what he called “foreign powers” to interfere in Pakistan’s democracy.

Pakistan’s opposition parties say the move by the prime minister and his ruling party to annul the no-confidence vote, and dissolving the assembly, was unconstitutional.

In the meantime, the chief justice’s office has said it is aware of the circumstances, and that “further details will be shared soon.”

Opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari says Khan’s opponents are ready to contest elections, adding that their legal team is working on a petition and will be going to the Supreme Court. “We are ready for the general elections but we cannot allow violation of the rules and the constitution. They (government) want instability in Pakistan but we will once again defeat them.”

“The court is bound to side with the constitution of Pakistan,” he said, adding that the deputy speaker had no right to cancel the vote.

And Farrukh Habib, Pakistan’s state minister for information, said the country will hold fresh elections in 90 days. But a final decision on the matter will come from the president and the election commission.

The implacable opposition has gone to considerable lengths in the recent past to weaken a coalition Khan had built around his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to become prime minister in 2018.

On Saturday, Khan accused the United States of being behind a parliament debate on the no-confidence motion, saying the move is an attempt at regime change backed by Washington.

The Pakistani premier had earlier accused an unnamed foreign power of funding a “conspiracy” to topple his democratically-elected government.

Khan would have been the first prime minister of Pakistan to be removed through a vote of no-confidence. The cricketer-turned-politician stands accused by the opposition of mishandling the economy and foreign policy since 2018. 

His embattled government has been banking on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release a 6-billion-dollar rescue package, but the move has been obstructed by Washington.

Pakistan supreme court to hear arguments on parliament dissolution

Pakistan's supreme court will hear arguments related to the president's dissolution of parliament on Monday, a statement from the body said Sunday.

"This is an urgent matter. The case is fixed for tomorrow. Notices are issued to all political parties and state functionaries," said Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

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