Pakistan’s parliament elected opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif as the country’s 23rd Prime Minister on Monday. The ousted premier Imran Khan and most of his party’s lawmakers resigned their seats in the assembly before voting started.
Shehbaz is the younger brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
By all accounts, Imran Khan seems to have been ousted from the position of Pakistan PM that he held for four years because of disenchantment with him on part of the country’s all-powerful military establishment, also its de facto ruler.
Imran Khan was ‘anointed’ PM by the Army four years ago, even as his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) technically fell short of a complete majority in the National Assembly, a sign purported to be the Army’s tacit approval of Khan’s appointment.
Then PM in the seat, and the current PM’s brother Nawaz, was seen to have fallen out with the military establishment when he ‘got too big for his shoes,’ as many perceive Khan to have done now.
Imran Khan’s relationship with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, seemed to have soured when Bajwa’s tenure extension was allegedly stalled by Khan, with the matter ending up in Pakistan Supreme Court.
Then, in October, 2021, Khan declined to sign-off on an order relieving Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed – who had begun to fancy himself as a successor to Gen. Bajwa, from the coveted post of DG, ISI.
This damaged his political prospects irreparably, as he ruffled many-a-senior feather in Rawalpindi.
Khan alleged ahead of the no-confidence vote on April 9 that there was a foreign conspiracy plotted in the United States to overthrow his government.
‘Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, but the freedom struggle begins again today against a foreign conspiracy of regime change. It is always the people of the country who defend their sovereignty and democracy.’ Imran Khan tweeted on Sunday after his ouster.
Sharif on Monday said he will resign if the charges were proved, calling the conspiracy a ‘drama.’
The United States also rejected Khan’s allegations.
‘Let me just say very bluntly there is absolutely no truth to these allegations. Of course, we continue to follow these developments, and we respect and support Pakistan’s constitutional process and rule of law. But again, these allegations are absolutely not true,” deputy state department spokesperson Jalina Porter said.