Pakistan’s Supreme Court has adjourned its hearing of an appeal regarding the country’s ongoing political crisis and promised to reconvene on April 5.
The high court was expected to issue a ruling on April 4, one day after parliament was dissolved after a motion of no confidence against the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan was blocked in the legislature.
Parliament had been set to vote on the no-confidence motion on April 3, with an alliance of several opposition parties claiming to have more than the required 172 votes needed to adopt the resolution and sack Khan. But the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Qasim Suri, a member of Khan’s Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) party, rejected the motion as unconstitutional.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, head of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, announced a sit-in at parliament and appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take up the matter.
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Khan, a former cricket star, lost his majority in parliament last week when a coalition partner announced it would vote with the opposition and several PTI deputies also defected.
Khan had claimed that the no-confidence motion was an attack against him by the United States in retaliation for his close relations with Russia and China.
Washington has rejected that accusation.
The opposition accuses Khan of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy, and political analysts also say Khan has fallen out with Pakistan's powerful military, whose support is critical for any party to attain power.
On April 2, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javad Bajwa expressed concern about Moscow's war against Ukraine, saying that "despite Russia's legitimate security concerns, its aggression against a smaller country cannot be condoned."
Bajwa also said Pakistan had enjoyed excellent defense and economic relations with Kyiv since Ukraine's independence, but that while some positive developments had taken place in its ties with Russia of late, its relations with Russia had been "cold" for a long time for numerous reasons.
He added that Pakistan sought to expand ties with both the United States and China, which has refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and criticized the West's punitive sanctions against Moscow.