Pakistan PM Imran Khan may dissolve assembly amid secret talks
Backdoor discussions are underway in Pakistan to negotiate an agreement between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the unified opposition to dissolve the lower house, according to PTI. The development comes a day after the Islamabad High Court warned him not to reveal the contents of a "secret" letter purporting to be proof of a foreign conspiracy to depose him, it said.
Why does this story matter?
- This is considered a key development in the politics of Pakistan because the political fate of Imran Khan hangs in uncertainty due to the changing equations of power and the rebellious attitude of allies.
- Khan, who is expected to address the nation later in the night, is most likely to be ousted as some of his allies have reportedly decided to change sides.
Details of back channel talks
Secret conversations are taking place between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf administration and the combined opposition on the matter of a no-confidence resolution against Khan, the news agency PTI reported. "Talks are focused on one point—the joint opposition withdraws the no-trust motion against Khan and in return, he dissolves the National Assembly calling for fresh elections," it said, quoting highly placed sources.
PM Khan may announce early elections
"The top man in the establishment may be a guarantor if the understanding between the opposition and the government reaches," PTI quoted a top official as saying. "If this deal is cut, the new elections will be held in August this year," he added.
Why was the no-confidence motion introduced?
To recall, the opposition parties submitted a no-confidence motion on March 8 in the National Assembly, based on their mutual agenda and hatred to oust Khan while holding his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government responsible for the country's ongoing economic crisis and spiraling inflation. The opposition needs 172 votes in the 342-member National Assembly to remove Khan from power.
How many members are needed for majority?
Led by Khan, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has 155 members in the Lower House. It needs at least 172 lawmakers to remain in power. The party claims to have the backing of 23 members from six other political parties. Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was elected to power in 2018 on the promise of creating a "Naya Pakistan" (new Pakistan).
Secret communication was from US diplomat: Report
Reportedly, the internal communication (the aforementioned "secret" letter) was sent by Pakistan's former Ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed on the basis of his meeting with the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs. However, Washington has denied this, saying no US government agency or official had sent a letter to Pakistan on the current political situation in the country.
Islambad High Court's caution to Imran Khan
The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday cautioned Khan against sharing the contents of the "secret" letter that he alleges proves a foreign conspiracy to unseat him. The court reportedly said the PM should abide by the Official Secrets Act oath taken by him.