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Current Affairs

Conflict between Pakistani Prime Minister and army

Date: 25 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Pakistani government helmed by Prime Minister Imran Khan looks uncertain of continuing in office after falling out with the army.

 

Background

The army in Pakistan yields tremendous influence in the country and no government can survive without its support.

 

Details

  • An alliance of opposition parties such as PML (N), PPP and Jamat Ulema-Islam has submitted a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan.

  • Many members of Imran Khan’s own party have turned against him. His coalition partners have started to desert the government.

 

Fall of government

  • The main reason for the situation is declining relations between army and Imran Khan. The government had managed to exist because Imran Khan claimed to be on the same page as the army.

  • The army and ISI have worked very hard for making it possible for Imran Khan to win elections by engineering defections from other political parties.

  • After the election, Imran Khan managed to cobble an alliance consisting of smaller parties to arrive at the magic number. The arrangement was held together by army.

 

The role of government

The government made no effort to assert its independence. The handling of Covid-19, talks with Taliban and other foreign policy issues were delegated to army.

 

Decline of popularity

  • The government’s popularity started waning due to lack of administrative experience and failing to live up to promise of weeding out corruption.

  • The economy of the country degraded as the prime Minister was helpless. The country is surviving on loans from foreign nations and IMF.

  • The major crisis started after a large rally backed by opposition parties. They targeted Imran Khan and the army chief. However, there was no drastic change.

 

The final nail

  • The last straw was Imran Khan opposing transfer of Lt General Faiz Hameed, the then chief of ISI and Imran Khan’s nominee for army chief post.

  • Hameed was transferred owing to various controversies such as his public appearance in Kabul after Taliban’s comeback.

  • The army was very concerned about their officials building personal relations with politicians. This ruptured the relations completely.

  • The opposition leaders sensed this as an opportunity to unseat Imran Khan as army was no longer on his side. They submitted a no-confidence motion against the government.

 

Way ahead

  • Imran Khan is banking on the Supreme Court for disqualifying dissenting members and he can cobble up his alliance partners to stay in power.

  • There is also a possibility of him sacking the army chief so that the incoming chief may help him stay in power for next few years.