Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan seen here in Kabul was taken on 19 November 2020.
Wakil Kohsar | Afp | Getty Images
As a cricket bowler, the equivalent of a baseball pitcher, sports legend Imran Khan was famous for his so-called “inswinger.” His deceptively lazy ball often began slowly but suddenly curled sharply inward, taking the batter completely by surprise.
As Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Khan’s move on Sunday to force fresh elections after dodging a no-confidence motion against his government caught the opposition completely off-guard as well.
It was a clever ploy. But will it knock off the opposition?
Questions remain on whether the Pakistan Supreme Court — which is expected to weigh in on whether the deputy speaker violated the constitution when he dismissed the no-trust vote — could disallow Khan’s call for early elections.
More critically, will the army, the country’s real power center with which Khan has had a worsening relationship, make its move?
The powerful army has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 73 years since independence. It wields considerable power in internal politics, security and foreign policy.
On Sunday, Khan avoided an attempt to oust him when Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri refused to hold the no-confidence vote. Suri, a member of Khan’s ruling party, claimed there was “foreign interference” in the attempt to unseat Khan.
Khan took a calculated gamble in his move to call for early elections, said Associate Professor Iqbal Singh Sevea, the director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore.
“Imran Khan is betting on retaining his support base and the opposition splintering. The opposition parties are only united by the desire to topple Imran Khan’s government and are unlikely to be able to retain a united front,” he told CNBC on Monday.
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