Pakistan’s highest court rules against PM, restores parliament

During the week, the five-member bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court heard arguments from lawyers for Khan, the opposition and the country’s president before handing down the decision late Thursday evening, after iftar, the meal that breaks the one-day fast during the Muslim holy month. of Ramadan.

Khan said Washington wanted him out because of what he describes as its independent foreign policy, which often favors China and Russia. Khan has also been a vocal critic of Washington’s war on terror and came under fire for a visit to Moscow on Feb. 24, hours after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.

The US State Department has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s domestic politics. After dissolving parliament, Khan went on national television to announce a snap election.

“It’s the unfortunate fact of Pakistani politics – political issues, which should be settled in parliament, are instead taken to the Supreme Court to be settled,” said analyst Zahid Hussain, author of several books on activism. in the region and the complicated situation of Islamabad. relationship with Washington.

“It’s just a weakness in the system,” Hussain added.

Pakistan’s highest court or its mighty army have constantly intervened whenever unrest grips a democratically elected government in Pakistan. The military took over and ruled for more than half of Pakistan’s 75-year history.

The army has remained silent during the latest crisis, although army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told a security summit in Islamabad over the weekend that Pakistan wants good relations with China, a major investor, as well as with the United States, the country’s largest export market. .

The latest political chaos has spilled over into the country’s largest province, Punjab, home to 60% of Pakistan’s 220 million people and where Khan’s ally for the post of chief provincial minister has been seen turn down the post on Wednesday, after his political opposition voted for his own nominee.

Kathy Gannon and Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press