Pakistan: US slammed for 'blatant interference' over vote
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ayesha Saeed, an expert on Pakistan affairs and graduate of the prestigious Diplomatic Academy of London stressed the importance of a rapid election to clarify the needs and wishes of the people of Pakistan, as well as to determine relations with the West and the war in Ukraine. With former Prime Minister Imran Khan being replaced by new PM Shehbaz Sharif following a vote of no confidence, multiple political changes are expected within the Asian nation both from within and across borders.
Discussing the ongoing war in Ukraine, and Pakistan’s neutral stance on the war, Mr Saeed said: “Pakistan has remained relatively neutral over the Ukraine war.
“The new Government will go along the stance with the rest of the world, which you could consider as the European Union and the US.
“I think the Pakistan army will also align themselves on the same page.”
On speaking about foreign relations, Ms Saeed added: “The new Foreign Minister is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is the son of slain Benazir Bhutto, will wholeheartedly support the stance of the EU over the war.”
Ms Saeed also spoke of internal issues within Pakistan.
On the topic of Mr Khan being replaced, and the notion of him coming back to power, she said: “This would only be possible if the newly formed government holds a general election within three months.
“This is the law, and they came with this impression such elections would be held within the time limit.
“If there are elections, there is a very big chance Imran Khan will return to power.”
On stating the reasons for a potential return to power by the former cricketer, Ms Saeed added: “The majority of the public is with him right now.
“However, there is a second scenario, having now realised his potential, and seen his popularity shoot up since being removed from office, there is a chance the government will attempt to delay the elections.
“Since coming to power, there have been no new mentions of elections by the current government.”
Mr Khan is said to have questioned the Pakistani election commission which he claims is not acting according to the constitution, nor he claims is fulfilling its responsibilities.
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Ms Saeed goes on to warn about a “murky” future for the current government.
She said: “I feel the way Imran Khan was removed was a very murky situation, however, there is always a positive coming out of every issue.
“I feel now is a turning point for the people of Pakistan who will now question whether they are willing to take being dictated to by other countries, or are they going to seek an independent situation.
“There is now no turning back, whether Imran Khan comes back to power or not, come the general elections, we will have a person in power who will not be under the dictates of the EU or the US.
“But I think whilst Imran Khan is still around, nobody else will be acceptable to the people.
“We’re in the middle of change, a revolution and we will have to wait to see what happens next.”
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According to reports, Imran Khan blamed his removal from office on the West.
While still in office, he claimed a foreign conspiracy was responsible for the hatching of the no-confidence vote.
He said “we have been threatened in writing, but we will not compromise on national interests” on speaking of an alleged letter sent to him by a foreign government as proof of his theory.
With the economic situation in the country still dire since his departure, with inflation rising to around 13.4 percent, Mr Khan appears to now be plotting his comeback.
Mr Khan has gone on the offensive, holding events across Pakistan to rally support and demand new elections.
His narrative of a foreign conspiracy has struck a chord among many voters despite a lack of evidence.
Experts suggest the only way for Mr Sharif to parry Mr Khan’s revival would be to significantly improve the economy, however, with the fate of Pakistan’s IMF programme uncertain, depleted foreign reserves and double-digit inflation, observers said Mr Sharif’s multi-party coalition needed to show quick economic results or risk losing more voters.
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