Imran Khan may not be suited to hold public office within a democratic order: Pakistan media

The Dawn newspaper said in a stinging editorial titled 'Democracy subverted', that the 'The nation is stunned', The Express Tribune's editorial noted that the spirit of democracy wasn't played well.

Published: 04th April 2022 06:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2022 06:54 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a military parade to mark Pakistan National Day, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.(File Photo | AP)


ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan has dealt a "fatal blow" to constitutionalism and given rise to the strongest concerns yet that he may not be suited to hold public office within a democratic order, Pakistan's media angrily commented on Monday, as they questioned the embattled cricketer-turned-politician's "unconstitutional" moves by a day earlier.

In a controversial move that has roiled the country, members of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party on Sunday blocked a vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister and got the President to dissolve the parliament, a decision that has been legally challenged by a stunned Opposition.

Khan had claimed the no-trust vote by the Opposition was part of a US-led conspiracy to remove him, but Washington has denied this.

"The nation is stunned," the Dawn newspaper said in a stinging editorial titled 'Democracy subverted'.

"With the parliamentary process pulverised on the orders of a leader who continues to hold it in deep contempt, Pakistan has been thrown into the dark abyss of a constitutional crisis.

It seems, in retrospect, that the captain had planned to play this dastardly card all along," it said.

"It came as a rude shock: it takes quite the fall for a self-proclaimed 'fighter' to display such unsportsmanlike behaviour," it said on the 69-year-old former captain of Pakistan.

By tearing up the rules of the game instead of 'playing till the last ball', Khan has "dealt a fatal blow to constitutionalism and given rise to the strongest concerns yet that he may not be suited to hold public office within a democratic order," the editorial commented.

The Express Tribune newspaper in its editorial noted that the spirit of democracy wasn't played well.

"The Prime Minister, who was himself a great trendsetter in sports, should have read the writing on the wall.

He was on a weak wicket, and could not chase the score of 172 needed to stay in power," it noted.

Khan should have taken a backseat and let the opposition take on the baton.

Also, even if he had been voted out on the floor of the house, havens would not have fallen, the newspaper commented.

"He would have been an asset to democracy and electoral politics as the leader of the opposition, and could have pursued more scholarly his agenda of self-reliance and an independent foreign policy by putting the new government in the dock," it said.

The Dawn newspaper, like other experts, pointed out that constitutionally, Khan could not have dissolved the National Assembly while a vote of no-confidence was pending against him.

"His request was, again with indecent haste, admitted by the president, who then promptly dismissed the National Assembly," it noted.

He could have played the political game like a true sportsperson and still emerged stronger from the loss given the sharp narrative he had spun leading up to the vote.

"Instead, he chose to thrust the country into a constitutional crisis.

The president, too, failed to act with wisdom: instead of looking into the constitutionality of the entire process, he acted as an Imran Khan loyalist and sullied his office with his partisan decision," the Dawn editorial commented critically against the 72-year-old President who is from Khan's party.

The News International newspaper commented that what happened on Sunday is unprecedented in that a civilian Prime Minister chose to take the route of dissolving assemblies, instead of facing a vote of no-confidence.

"Observers and experts in law and history say that, while such unconstitutional moves have been made by dictators over the years, a civilian government flouting all rules to save its power this way is new and sets a terrible precedent if not declared null and void, the newspaper said in its editorial.

Khan's move has sparked anger among the Opposition, with some politicians accusing him of "treason" for not allowing the no-trust vote to go ahead.

But in a television address and a series of late-night tweets Khan has defended the decision to dissolve the National Assembly and to order fresh elections.

Khan has said his criticism of US policy and other foreign policy decisions, including his visit to Moscow as Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, has led to an attempt by Washington to remove him from power.

Meanwhile, the Dawn newspaper wrote that the Supreme Court will hopefully provide an adequate remedy for the wrong that has been done and remind all parties that there is only one path to holding any legitimate power, and it will always lie through the Constitution.

"Anything else would be unacceptable," the newspaper underlined.


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