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Pakistani PM Khan calls for early election amid effort to oust him

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Ousted Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, in a July 21, 2019, file photo.

Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan called for an early election on Sunday after dissolving parliament amid opposition efforts to oust him from office. 

Khan called for an early election during a televised address to the nation.

“Prepare for elections,” Khan said during his address, according to the New York Times. “No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be.”

In several tweets, Khan responded to criticism of his move — seen as a bid to avoid a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly — asking why his main opponent, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, was scared of an election.

“Astonished by reaction of PDM to our calling for general elections,” Khan wrote in a tweet on Sunday. “They have been crying hoarse abt how our govt has failed & lost support of the ppl so why the fear of elections now? Democrats go to the ppl for support.”

“Isn’t it better for PDM to accept elections rather than being part of a foreign conspiracy for regime change; and indulging in blatant purchasing of loyalties thereby destroying our nation’s moral fibre?,” Khan wrote in another tweet. 

Khan has tried to frame the efforts to oust him as part of a U.S.-backed conspiracy. He indicated on Saturday that he would not accept the results of a no-confidence vote, but then effectively blocked the vote with his move on Sunday.

Pakistan’s opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday the group has held numerous meetings on how to respond to the latest development.

“It’s been a sad day in Pakistan history. Nascent democracy has been hit and damaged in a very, very brutal way,” Sharif said in a statement. 

Opposition lawmakers also filed a petition with the country’s Supreme Court, calling the move an “open coup against the country and the Constitution,” the Times reported.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court is expected to address and vote on the matter on Monday.

Tags allegations Imran Khan Imran Khan Irman Khan Pakistan Pakistan Pakistan–United States relations
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