Five key points to understand Pakistan’s political crisis
By Amjad Ali
Islamabad, Apr 3 (EFE).- A no-confidence motion against Pakistan’s prime minister in the country’s parliament was dismissed on Sunday and fresh were elections called, but what led to this vote against the so-far popular Imran Khan?
These are some of the main points to understand how he landed in such a situation around a year before becoming the first-ever Pakistani prime minister to complete his five-year term.
1. The army’s backing
The cricketer-turned-politician came to power in 2018. As soon as the results of the elections started coming out, opposition parties accused Khan of rigging the election with the help of the country’s powerful army.
Political observers are now debating whether the army, known as the ultimate kingmaker, has withdrawn that support.
Opposition parties are also of the view that, unlike in the past, the army is staying neutral now because Khan reneged on his election promises.
In a press conference recently, the army said that it has “nothing to do with politics.”
2. A coalition government
Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) didn’t obtain an absolute majority in the National Assembly — the parliament’s lower house — after the 2018 polls so it had to rely on other regional parties.
The PTI won 155 seats, 17 short of a simple majority required to form the government. Khan reached out to smaller parties which have now withdrawn their support due to the government’s failure to fulfil its promises to them during its nearly four year term.
Among those parties is the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), a key ally of the PTI-led coalition and which confirmed on Wednesday that it had broken its alliance with the PTI and would support the no-confidence motion.
3. Internal differences
More than a dozen members of Khan’s own party have broken ranks and announced that they will vote against the leader. Many of these deserters were members of other parties that decided to join the PTI in 2018 and have now agreed to stand as opposition candidates with a view to the next elections scheduled for 2023.
4. Khan’s broken promises
The former captain of the Pakistani cricket team came to power in 2018 on the promise of building a “New Pakistan” through anti-corruption policies, economic reforms and the creation of an Islamic welfare state, closing the gap between the rich and the poor in this country of 220 million inhabitants.
However, in recent years, inflation has remained in double digits, and rising commodity prices and the constant devaluation of the currency have contributed to the general discontent of the population and fueled tensions.
Due to slow economic growth, Khan was unable to deliver on his election promise to generate 10 million jobs and build 5 million homes for the country’s most disadvantaged, though he claims that his policies have put the country’s economy in the right direction for a speedy recovery.
5. Curbs on media
During Khan’s tenure, a large section of the media has denounced an increasingly authoritarian climate with the curtailment of free speech, self-censorship and threats, violence and kidnappings by security forces.