Thousands hit Pakistani streets to protest Imran Khan ouster

Thousands of people have been gathered across Pakistan, and protests have also taken place worldwide to show support for Imran Khan, who was ousted with a no-trust decision in the Parliament’s parliamentary chamber as the pm despite opposition lawmakers in the South Asian country prepared to select Khan’s successor.

Large rallies took place in major cities all over the South Asian country in favor of the former premier and against “foreign interference” a day following Khan’s resignation from the parliamentary no-trust election.

Khan’s supporters marched through towns across Pakistan over the weekend, waving enormous banners for the party and promising that they would support. The young people who form most of Khan’s supporters led the crowds.

In Karachi’s southern Arabian Sea port city, a considerable number of Khan’s supporters shouted slogans promising Khan’s return to the throne.

“No to imported government” was the message on a placard in Karachi when protesters shouted: “Any friend of America is a traitor.”

In the capital city of Islamabad, the glow of thousands of fans was visible in the skies at night as Khan moved through the crowd on an attractively colored truck.

“In a democratic system, the final voice will be the people’s voice. And the voice is the people is Imran Khan,” said Ambareen Turk, an activist from the local party who attended a protest in Islamabad.

Many protesters, including children and women, showed up in the northern part of Peshawar city to show their support for the deposed prime minister, DAWN newspaper said.

In the eastern part of Lahore city, crowds shouted anti-government slogans to protest against a “foreign conspiracy” to overthrow the government elected by Pakistan, The Express Tribune said.

Many of Khan’s supporters participated in protests across the UK, Australia, and UAE.

In London, the capital city, protesters congregated at Hyde Park and outside former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s residence. They declared that they would not support the emergence of any “imported” government.

As reported by The Daily Mail, many protesters have said they will not transfer money back until Khan is restored as the premier.

Khan has asked his supporters to join him after the conclusion of the fast that is observed daily from dawn to dusk to celebrate Ramadan, the Muslim Holy month Ramadan.

Khan was sacked following an intense period of tension and angry remarks. His supporters claimed that the United States orchestrated his exile, and his group walked out of Parliament just before the vote.

In the end, 174 members of the Parliament’s 342-seats have voted to dismiss Khan, two more than a simple majority. On Monday, Khan’s successor will be chosen and sworn into office by the Parliament.

The top contender for the top spot is Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of former disgraced PM Nawaz Sharif.

Shahbaz Sharif is the leader of the biggest party, part of a broad coalition of opposition parties that span from the left-wing to the religious. Khan’s choice for the post of prime minister is His Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Khan’s dismissal ‘backfired.’

“Plan to oust Imran Khan has backfired. There are more and more public protests happening almost all over the country. The public reaction does show he enjoys widespread support,” Pakistani political analyst Javed Rana said to TRT World.

“I think it will be complicated for the new government to govern because Imran Khan will give them an adamant time. The new government will have to hold early elections.”

Khan’s demise comes amid declining relations with the military’s robust and struggling economy with the high inflation rate and the plummeting Pakistani rupee.

The opposition has accused Khan’s administration of mismanagement of the economy and a sloppy foreign policy.

Khan has said that the US has been working in the background to make him fall, and he claims it was due to Washington’s displeasure with his own foreign policy decisions, which tend to favor China or Russia.

He has at times refused to accept America and has scathingly criticized the post 9/11 war against terror. Khan declared that America was deeply troubled by his trip to Russia and his visit to Russian Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. Vladimir Putin on February 24 marked the beginning of the offensive in Ukraine.

“Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, but the freedom struggle begins again today against a foreign conspiracy of regime change. The people of the country always defend their sovereignty and democracy,” the former premier stated earlier in the day on Sunday.

The US State Department has denied Khan’s claims.

Elizabeth Threlkeld, a Pakistan expert with the American-based The Stimson Center, said that as a premier, Khan often played the position of the opposition leader.

“His removal would see him to a role he knows well, armed with a narrative of victimhood from unfounded claims of international interference,” she added. “His base will remain loyal, though I expect his controversial attempt to remain in power and reduced military backing will lose him less committed supporters.”

General elections will not be held until August 2023.

Even if the new premier favors an early election, it probably not occur before October.

The Pakistan Election Commission, which supervises the polls and conducts elections, informed the Supreme Court last week it needed to complete re-aligning districts in line with the outcomes of a 2017 census before voting could be conducted.

The media is praised for handling Covid.

Khan has been praised internationally for managing the Covid pandemic, opting for what he calls “smart lockdowns” where outbreaks occurred rather than nationwide closures, which helped protect specific sectors like construction.

His track record of fighting corruption has resulted in $21 billion in foreign deposits from Pakistanis.

But he couldn’t resolve the tensions between him and his army that had been ruling Pakistan directly for more than half of its 75-year history and indirectly during civilian governments took over.

Khan’s adversaries claim that the army helped win the elections of 2018 after it disagreed with Nawaz Sharif. After being listed in “The Panama Papers, Sharif was found guilty of corruption.” Panama Papers.

These documents are a set of leaked financial documents that reveal how the worlds wealthiest conceal their wealth and involve the world’s largest law firm, with its headquarters in Panama.

The Pakistani Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from serving in the office. After being found guilty in the Pakistani justice system for corruption, he is in London as an exile for self-imposed reasons. The court sentenced him to ten years in prison.

The rifts in Khan’s relations with the army first surfaced in November, when he (Imran Khan) had a dispute with strong Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa regarding selecting the new chief of the intelligence department.

Over the week, Bajwa seemed to retreat from Khan’s anti-US rants by saying that Pakistan is looking to build good relationships with Washington as its biggest export trading partner and China. Bajwa criticized the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine.

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