The Opposition parties in Pakistan are jettisoning mutual hatred to oust Imran Khan as they submitted the no-trust motion in the National Assembly secretariat on March 8.
About two dozen members of his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have closed ranks with the Opposition parties and said they will vote for the motion against him.
The trust vote indicates very clearly that Khan does not have the majority support in the 342-member Parliament.
That seems unlikely, given his wide unpopularity amongst the lawmakers, and the country as a whole. And to his dismay, the all-powerful Army, the final arbiter of many things in Pakistan, has decided to stay “neutral” in the tussle between cricketer turned politician, Imran Khan and his detractors.
All the escape routes for Pakistan PM are closing as the voting date or the no-confidence motion inches closer and if Imran Khan denies to put in his papers and “fight it out” then the situation in Islamabad could turn ugly, forcing General Bajwa to stomp hard on his protege.
The Pakistan Army’s top brass has reportedly asked Imran Khan to resign after the conference of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Pakistan media reports stated that the decision to oust Imran Khan was taken by General Bajwa and three other senior Lt. Generals. It was reported that all four military leaders decided not to give any escape route to Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister apologised to the Pakistan army as he praised India for its independent foreign policy. He will have to face a crucial no-confidence motion in the National Assembly of Pakistan where his ouster seems all but certain.
Imran Khan was referring to the Indian decision to buy oil from Russia despite the sanction and despite India being a member of the Quadrilateral Alliance.
“Their policy is for the betterment of people,” he said while addressing a public rally at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on March 20. He seems to have realized his own folly of trying to preside over the government of a failed state.
The possible ouster of Imran Khan would once again establish that democracy cannot survive in Pakistan, a country where the army and its powerful wing the Inter-Service Intelligence control everything. Imran Khan has committed the cardinal sin of offending the army. In Pakistan, the support of the politically powerful military is critical for any political party to retain power.
He has used the ISI to stay in power, and now the same ISI is trying to remove him from power. Imran Khan had stood in the way of what was being seen as a routine transfer in the army, with Pak army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa planning to shift Director General of ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hamid as the commander of Peshawar-based XI Corps and replacing him with Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the DG ISI. The Prime Minister had refused to issue the formal notification.
The fact, possibly, is that Imran Khan himself had become too dependent on Lt Gen Faiz Hamid and was using the ISI for his political survival. Finally, Imran Khan had to eat the humble pie in October 2021 and accept the face-saver of choosing the same Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the DG ISI from a panel of three names presented to him by Gen Bajwa. It is reported that Imran Khan had been warned against any attempt by him to replace the army chief.
While domestic issues like rapid inflation have been highlighted by opposition parties in seeking Imran Khan’s ouster, the former cricket captain of Pakistan must also share a part of the blame himself for having made a mess of Pakistan’s foreign relations.