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Commentary: Regime change in Pakistan

Commentary by Rick Majumdar |
April 11, 2022
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On April 10, in Islamabad, Pakistan the Supreme Court upheld a vote of no confidence to remove Imran Khan of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from power. The opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) voted in favor of no confidence. 174 votes were in favor for no confidence, two more than 172 vote mark that needed for this to be passed.

Previously, on March 1, the heads of 22 diplomatic missions, including those of EU member states, released a joint letter urging Pakistan to support a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia's intervention in the Ukraine.

Following this, on March 4, Pakistan became the first country to officially sign a huge trade deal with Russia at a time when Moscow has come under severe criticism. As part of the agreement, Pakistan would import 2 million tons of wheat as well as natural gas from Russia, a deal worth several billion rubles.

At a rally on March 6, Imran Khan said, "What do you think of us? Are we your slaves?” in response to the critiques of Pakistan starting its trade in wheat and natural gas with Russia and not condemning the country because of the intervention in Ukraine.

At a rally on March 27, Khan spoke of an official communiqué sent by the U.S. that threatened his position. Khan would then contact and summon U.S. diplomat Donald Lu (Assistant Secretary of State for the South and Central Asian Affairs), the author of threat letter to Pakistan.

Imran Khan dissolved the National Assembly of the parliament in the face a no-confidence motion, citing that there was foreign interference within Pakistan's politics. This would be met with intense support for Khan with chants inside the parliament such as “Amrika ka Jo yaar wo hain gaddar” (the friends of America are traitors).

The Supreme Court of Pakistan however reinstated the ruling on Thursday, April 7 ,stating that dissolution of the parliament was illegal and proceeded to restore the National Assembly. Khan was removed from office on April 10.

During Khan's tenure ties with China improved and the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor), a project worth $62 billion, was established. This would rapidly upgrade Pakistan's required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones. This was a welcome and marked change in Pakistan from the IMF-led debt entrapment that the country was so used to, and which devastated the country's economic landscape.

These close ties with China and Russia came to the attention of the Western countries, especially the United States. It can be believed in no uncertain terms that this was a regime change effort by the U.S. that ultimately removed Imran Khan from office.