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Pakistan: Imran Khan govt staring at crisis as rebellion strikes his coalition and opposition continue to mount attack

The opposition parties have accused the cricketer-turned-politician of mishandling the country's economy and foreign policy.

Three years after storming into power in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing an existential crisis as the opposition alliance is all set to move a no-confidence motion against his government that was elected in August 2018.

For last few months, there has been a significant shift in Pakistan’s political scene with the two main opposition parties — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party, joining hands with Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman, who is fondly known as Maulana’ Diesel’ of the radical Islamic outfit Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam to stitch a coalition of parties – Pakistan Democratic Movement to bring down the Imran Khan-led coalition government.

Recently, Imran Khan had mounted an attack on these opposition leaders and had referred to opposition leaders such as PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari as “three stooges”. Imran Khan had also claimed the united opposition has joined the west, especially the US, to remove him from power through a no-confidence vote.

For Imran Khan’s worry, the Pakistan military that had once stood behind him and made him the premier of the country, has now distanced itself from the government, which has given a further boost to the opposition coalition.

The opposition parties have accused the cricketer-turned-politician of mishandling the country’s economy and foreign policy. It is interesting to know that no Pakistani Prime Minister has ever completed his term in office. The joint opposition consisting of PML-N and the PPP has more than 160 seats in the National Assembly.

But, it is not just the opposition parties that want Imran Khan to quit. The ruling coalition-led by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is heavily dependent on six other smaller parties Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (7 seats), Balochistan Awami Party (5 seats), Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam) (5 seats), Grand Democratic Alliance  (3 seats), Awami Muslim League Pakistan (1 seat), Jamhoori Wattan Party (1 seat) and 2 Independents.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has 155 seats in the lower house, 17 short of the 172 needed to retain power in the 342-member Pakistan’s National Assembly.

There have been faultlines within the ruling party that may mark the end game for Imran Khan. Since the last few weeks, the rebellion within the ruling coalition, especially in the PTI, has grown, inviting more trouble for Imran Khan. Several lawmakers from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling party have withdrawn their support for him on Thursday ahead of a no-confidence vote.

“We have differences with the prime minister,” Raja Riaz, one of the PTI lawmakers, adding he would vote according to his conscience. As per Raja’s claims, at least 20 PTI lawmakers are expected to defect ahead of the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan.

Without the coalition partners and the dissidents, Imran Khan will no longer be the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Even as Imran Khan’s party struggles to keep his flock together, there has been growing animosity between the ruling and opposition parties. At a time when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan needs all the support he can muster ahead of the no-confidence motion, some of his motormouth ministers have stepped up attacks against the united opposition.

One even threatened to destroy the opposition parties if they did not reconsider their decision to move a no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government. A few days back, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had threatened the opposition parties that he would turn into to become a suicide bomber and blow up the entire opposition. Several Pakistan ministers, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, have threatened the opposition leaders that PTI workers would surround their houses to prevent them from voting on the motion.

The voting on a no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government will take place between March 26-30. The Speaker of the National Assembly is expected to call the session on March 22.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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