Pakistan’s Khan accepts court ruling that could bring down his gov’t

Islamabad, Apr 8 (EFE).- Prime Minister Imran Khan accepted Friday the ruling by Pakistan’s Supreme Court clearing the way for a no-confidence vote in parliament that he is widely expected to lose.

“I am saddened by the verdict, but I accept it,” he said at the start of a televised address on the eve of Saturday’s vote.

But he again defended the decision by deputy parliament speaker Qasim Suri – a Khan ally – to block the no-confidence motion on the grounds of foreign meddling.

“There was foreign interference in Pakistan’s no-confidence. I wanted the SC (Supreme Court) to at least look at it. It was a very serious allegation that a foreign country wants to topple the government through a conspiracy,” the premier said.

“The SC could have at least asked for and looked at the document to gauge whether we’re speaking the truth,” he said, referring to the cable from Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington about ostensible threats from the United States aimed at influencing parliament to oust the prime minister.

Khan, who first mentioned the cable on March 27, said Friday that he had declined to publish the document because it would compromise Pakistan’s encryption system.

Yet he proceeded to discuss the contents in some detail, revealing that an unnamed US official who knew of the planned no-confidence vote told the Pakistani envoy that Khan should not have gone forward with a trip to Moscow the same day Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Though the ambassador pointed out that the trip had been scheduled prior to the invasion, the US official said that “Pakistan will have to face consequences” if the government survived the no-confidence vote, Khan told Pakistanis.

“I want to tell my youth, your future is your own hands. The country’s sovereignty is in your hands. No army or foreign power can protect democracy, it is the nation that does so. This attack on our sovereignty, if you do not take a stand against it today, whoever comes into power will look at what the superpowers want and act accordingly,” the prime minister said.

Vowing not to accept “imported government,” Khan urged his supporters to take to the streets on Sunday for peaceful protests, implying that he expects to lose the no-confidence vote and see parliament select a new prime minister.

Khan addressed the nation after meeting with his Cabinet and leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

In a tweet ahead of the speech, Khan said that he would “continue to fight for Pak till the last ball,” alluding to his past as the captain of the Pakistan cricket team.

The Supreme Court said Thursday that Suri’s decision to block the no-confidence motion was “contrary to the constitution” and that Khan “could not have advised” President Arif Alvi to dissolve the parliament.

The judges restored the lower house of parliament and ordered the speaker to convene a session Saturday morning for the no-confidence motion.

The opposition claims to have the backing of 197 members, more than the 172 needed to oust the government in the 342-seat house.

EFE aa-hbc-mt/ia/dr

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