Imran Khan's Party Celebrates as Pakistan Court Reverses 'US Regime Change Conspiracy'
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulFormer Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan speaks during a news conference in Islamabad, Saturday, April 23, 2022
© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
Since his ouster as Prime Minister, Imran Khan has carried out massive rallies across the country, labeling the Shehbaz Sharif administration as an "imported government" imposed on the people of Pakistan in a U.S.-led conspiracy.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has called for immediate general elections in Pakistan as Pervez Elahi, an Imran Khan-backed candidate, was sworn in as State Chief of Punjab, the country's most populous province, on Wednesday.
Elahi replaced Hamza Shehbaz, son of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, after the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the July 22 ruling of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammed Mazari had been "patently incorrect and erroneous."
The political crisis erupted in the "bread basket" of Pakistan last week when the PTI dissident Mazari rejected 10 votes of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in favor of Elahi, saying that the lawmakers had violated the party president's order.
PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had asked the legislators to vote for Hamza.
Elahi challenged the deputy speaker's decision and came out victorious; the three-judge panel deemed the 10 votes valid.
Soon after the judgment, thousands of PTI supporters took to the streets in celebration, hoping that soon Imran Khan would secure a two-thirds majority in the upcoming general elections and become Prime Minister.
"I appreciate our SC judges for standing firm and upholding the Constitution and law, against all manner of threats and abuse," Imran Khan wrote on Twitter.
Former Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the verdict reversed the US regime change "conspiracy".
"Reversal of US regime change conspiracy by the strength of people who stood behind Imran Khan's stand for Haqeeqi Azadi (Real Freedom) and his taking the cause to the people of Pakistan," she said.
In the first election since his ouster, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won 15 of 20 seats in by-elections in the political stronghold of the Sharif party.
The PTI is observing Wednesday as "Thanksgiving Day," with huge celebrations planned across the country.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Supreme Court decision, PM Sharif said that the verdict has blown away the expectations of citizens, the legal community, and petitioners.
"We [Ruling government] will not compromise on the supremacy of the constitution and the parliament," the prime minister said.
Describing the decision as a "murder of justice" and "judicial coup", PML-N vice-President and daughter of Nawaz Sharif, the elder brother of PM Shehbaz, asked the government to take a firm stand on the matter.
PTI believes the Biden administration conspired to oust Imran Khan in April, an allegation Washington rejected and labeled as "disturbing".
Khan had accused Donald Lu, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, of conveying Pakistan's envoy in Washington on 7 March to remove his government.
The current tenure of Pakistan's National Assembly will end in October 2023.