rain.png
Thursday August 11th, 2022 2:02PM

Pakistan's top court blocks PM's move to stay in power

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday blocked Prime Minister Imran Khan’s bid to stay in power, ruling that his move to dissolve Parliament and call early elections was illegal. That set the stage for a no-confidence vote by opposition lawmakers, who say they have enough support to oust him.

The decision followed four days of hearings by the top court on the political crisis. Khan had tried to sidestep the no-confidence vote by accusing his political opponents of colluding with the United States to unseat him.

Lawmakers will probably convene Saturday for the vote, and the opposition says it has the 172 votes in the 342-seat house needed to oust Khan after several members of his own party and a key coalition partner defected.

“It's an unfortunate decision,” Khan's ally and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told The Associated Press following the unanimous ruling by the five-member Supreme Court. He warned that “instability will increase and I see no end to the crisis.”

Dozens of heavily armed police backed by paramilitary Rangers surrounded Pakistan’s stately white marble Supreme Court building. Roads leading to the court were blocked and a heavily armed contingent of police also encircled the nearby Parliamentary Lodges where opposition and government lawmakers stay when Parliament is in session.

Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League and is the likely candidate for prime minister if the no-confidence vote succeeds, welcomed the ruling as a victory for “justice and the supremacy of law.”

The political crisis began Sunday when an embattled Khan dissolved Parliament and set the stage for early elections. Chaudhry had stood in Parliament and accused the opposition of “disloyalty to the state” by working with a foreign power to bring about a “regime change.”

The deputy parliamentary speaker Qasim Suri cited Chaudhry's allegation to toss out the no-confidence resolution, but the Supreme Court ruled that Suri had no grounds to do so.

Chaudhry did not say what Khan's next step might be. Khan previously had called for nationwide demonstrations to protest what he called Washington's interference in Pakistan's affairs.

During the week, the Supreme Court heard arguments from Khan's lawyers, the opposition and the country’s president before handing down the decision Thursday night, after iftar, the meal that breaks the daylong fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“This is the unfortunate fact about Pakistani politics — the political issues, which should be settled in the parliament are instead brought to the Supreme Court to settle,” said analyst Zahid Hussain, who has authored several books on militancy in the region and Islamabad’s complicated relationship with Washington.

“It is just a weakness of the system,” Hussain added.

Khan said the U.S. wants him gone because of what he describes as his independent foreign policy, which often favors China and Russia. He also has been a strident critic of Washington's war on terrorism and was criticized for a visit to Moscow on Feb. 24, hours after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The U.S. State Department has denied any involvement in Pakistan's internal politics.

"Khan tapped into a potent vein of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan that is unlikely to dissipate any time soon," said Elizabeth Threlkeld, Pakistan expert at the U.S.-based The Stimson Center. “Young people make up the majority in the country and grew up during the two-decades-long war on terror, which is deeply controversial in Pakistan.”

She warned the anti-U.S. rhetoric could further complicate Pakistan's relationship with Washington

Pakistan's top court or its powerful military have consistently stepped in whenever turmoil engulfs a democratically elected government. The army has seized power and ruled for more than half of Pakistan's 75-year history.

The military has remained quiet in the latest crisis, although army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa told a security summit in Islamabad last weekend that Pakistan wants good relations with China, a major investor, and also with the U.S., the country's largest export market.

“The ongoing constitutional crisis is a major test for Pakistan’s institutions, which stems from both tensions between the prime minister and the military and economic pressures that created an opening for the opposition,” Threlkeld said.

“While a serious challenge, this is also an opportunity for Pakistan’s institutions to demonstrate their resilience should they manage to restore a legitimate constitutional process,” she said.

The latest political chaos has spilled over into the country's largest province of Punjab, where 60% of Pakistan's 220 million people live and where Khan's ally for chief provincial minister was denied the post on Wednesday, after his political opponents elected their own candidate.

——

Follow Kathy Gannon on Twitter at www:twitter.com/Kathygannon

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Turkey to move trial of Khashoggi suspects to Saudi Arabia
A Turkish court has decided to transfer the trial of 26 Saudis accused in the gruesome killing of Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, raising fears that those responsible for the death of the Washington Post columnist won’t be brought to justice for a crime that drew international outrage
1:41PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Tiger at the Masters: A hole-by-hole look at his return
Tiger Woods is playing the first round of the Masters on Thursday
1:41PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Niemann's eagle sends him to 3 under at Masters
Joaquin Niemann is the first player to reach 3 under at this year's Masters
1:38PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Congress votes to suspend Russia trade status, enact oil ban
Congress has overwhelmingly voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban the importation of its oil, ratcheting up the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid reports of atrocities
1:15PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Yellen calls for crypto regulation to reduce risks, fraud
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says more government regulation is needed to police the proliferation of cryptocurrency and other digital assets and to ward off fraudulent and illicit transactions
1:06PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Biden, Putin children open targets in sanctions over Ukraine
The Biden administration has newly targeted Vladimir Putin’s adult daughters in the sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
1:04PM ( 46 minutes ago )
AP National News
Judge tosses Girl Scouts' recruitment suit vs. Boy Scouts
A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit in which the Girl Scouts claim that the Boy Scouts are creating marketplace confusion and damaging their recruitment efforts through their use of words such as “scouts” and “scouting.”
12:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Senate votes 100-0 to end Russia trade status, enact oil ban
The Senate has unanimously voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban the importation of its oil, ratcheting up the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid reports of atrocities
11:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
Tiger's back: Woods tees off at Masters after terrible wreck
Against all odds, Tiger Woods has teed off in the Masters for his first truly competitive tournament since a car wreck that damaged his right leg so badly he was faced with the prospect of amputation
11:35AM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
DC mayor tests positive for COVID, claims mild symptoms
Washington D
11:21AM ( 2 hours ago )
Live Updates | Ukraine's top diplomat expects more weapons
Ukraine’s foreign minister says he’s cautiously optimistic that some NATO member countries will increase their weapons supplies to his country, helping it resist Russia’s invasion
10:02AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Live Updates | Moscow accuses Ukraine of derailing talks
Russia’s top diplomat has accused Ukraine of derailing talks with Moscow by changing its negotiating stance
7:58AM ( 5 hours ago )
Senate to vote on revoking Russia's trade status, oil ban
Legislation punishing Russia for the war in Ukraine is finally getting a vote in the U.S. Senate
7:33AM ( 6 hours ago )
Live Updates | Moscow vows response to latest US sanctions
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia intends to respond to U.S. sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s daughters as it sees fit
7:22AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Atrocities spur NATO nations to send more weapons to Ukraine
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says a number of NATO countries have agreed to ramp up weapons supplies to Ukraine to help in its fight against Russia
1:04PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Former German ministers file war crimes complaint on Russia
Two former German ministers have submitted a criminal complaint with federal prosecutors seeking the opening of a war crimes probe against Russian officials — including President Vladimir Putin — over the conflict in Ukraine
12:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Live Updates | UN ousts Russia from Human Rights Council
The U.N. General Assembly has voted to oust Russia from the Human Rights Council, which was established in 2006
12:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Turkey to move trial of Khashoggi suspects to Saudi Arabia
A Turkish court has decided to transfer the trial of 26 Saudis accused in the gruesome killing of Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, raising fears that those responsible for the death of the Washington Post columnist won’t be brought to justice for a crime that drew international outrage
1:41PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Tiger at the Masters: A hole-by-hole look at his return
Tiger Woods is playing the first round of the Masters on Thursday
1:41PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Niemann's eagle sends him to 3 under at Masters
Joaquin Niemann is the first player to reach 3 under at this year's Masters
1:38PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Braves' Acuña describes feelings for Freeman as 'nothing'
Ronald Acuña Jr. is not among the Atlanta Braves players who will be missing Freddie Freeman as the team opens its season
1:38PM ( 11 minutes ago )
AG: Fine Trump $10K a day for failing to turn over evidence
New York’s attorney general has asked a court to hold former President Donald Trump in contempt and fine him $10,000 per day for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents in her ongoing civil investigation into his business practices
1:37PM ( 12 minutes ago )