Movers and shakers behind Imran’s ouster

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The celebrated victory of Imran Khan during 2018 brought him into power in a coalition government, which, after 3.5 years, turned out to be his worst mistake and the reason for his fall, a report by Hamza Ameer

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, a cricket turned politician and a popular leader of political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has become the first in Pakistan’s history to be removed from office after losing a no-confidence vote in the parliament.

The celebrated victory of Imran Khan during 2018 brought him into power in a coalition government, which, after 3.5 years, turned out to be his worst mistake and the reason for his fall.

His opposition constituted a formidable team of seasoned political parties and leaders, who had teamed up with a one-point agenda, ouster of Imran Khan as the country’s Prime Minister.

While removal of Imran Khan has come as a shock to many of his die-hard supporters, it took weeks of machinations by his opposition, led by some important political personalities. Here is brief look at the movers and shakers behind his ouster.

Shehbaz Sharif:

Shehbaz Sharif is the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted from power at least three times and was later disqualified for life from running for office. President of the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) with his political powerbase in the Punjab province, Shehbaz Sharif has served as Chief Minister of the province and is known to have been one of the most vigilant administrators of the country.

As the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, he is now next in line to be the Prime Minister after Imran Khan’s removal from office.

Asif Ali Zardari:

Asif Ali Zardari is the former President of Pakistan and hails from a wealth Sindhi family. The husband of former Prime Minister, late Benazir Bhutto, Zardari is well known as the godfather of politics in Pakistan, and a person whose strong non-political connections with political figures make him one of the most influential politicians in the country.

Zardari has his share of allegations including corruption, drug smuggling and murder, but has never faced trial on any of the charges.

Co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a strong political power with his power base in the Sindh province, he became head of the party in 2007, after his wife died in a terror attack. Later he became the President of the country.

Zardari’s recent popular statement is that “the university of politics is PPP”.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s Shehbaz Sharif, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman and other leaders held a press conference after a key meeting of the Opposition parties in Islamabad on Saturday. (Screengrab: Twitter@MediaCellPPP)

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari:

Son of late Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal hails from the powerful Bhutto legacy and enjoys the political royalty of becoming the chairman of the Pakistan People Party (PPP) when he was only 19 years old.

Bilawal studied at Oxford and has fast made leaps into the Pakistani politics with his progressive and broader view on issues. The 33-year-old has made a name for himself in the race of top political figures, who are much older to him. However, he has often been mocked for being a child, immature in politics, and on his poor command of Urdu language.

But, it is a fact that the movement that led to the ouster of Imran Khan was the brainchild of Bilawal, making him by far the smartest political brain in the ranks of the PPP and its coalition political partners.

Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman:

A religious cleric who leads a hardline religious political party Jamiat-Ulema-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F), he has a reputation of being inclined towards the Taliban-led ideology of imposing a strict Islamic law in the country.

Rehman holds control of a party that has the ability of staging massive gatherings of hundreds of thousands of religious and political followers, ans is often accused of using his chain of religious schools and its students to showcase his public political strength.

He is head of the opposition parties alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) that teamed up against Imran Khan led government and removed him from office through the no-confidence vote in the parliament.

Rehman has often accused Imran Khan of being an agent of Israel and the West, and has also called him a Jew because of his marriage to Briton Jamima Goldsmith.

He is referred to by Imran Khan as Maulana Diesel, for his alleged role in illegal fuel licensing.

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