Russian-Ukraine war claims first int’l casualty, as Pakistani parliament sacks PM Khan


Pakistan’s parliament has passed a vote of no-confidence in the country’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, as it also removed him from office, early Sunday.

Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

The vote followed Khan’s lavish praise on his Indian counterpart, PM Narendra Modi, earlier Friday evening, over the latter’s decision to abstain from the voting process leading up to the suspension of Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Thursday.

Khan also praised Indian’s new ‘independent’ foreign policy, late Friday.

During his address to the Pakistani nation, Friday evening, Imran said: “India and Pakistan gained independence alongside one another. We couldn’t be friends over time.

“India, on the other hand, is a fairly sovereign nation. They believe in themselves and their country. “Despite various sanctions, India continues to purchase oil from Russia because its people need it.

India is very proud of itself. No superpower can dictate terms to them.

“I too, perceive my people’s benefit and prioritise it.

However, a backlash trailed the speech, as on Saturday, the country’s parliament passed a vote of no-confidence in him.

(From left): Indian PM, Narendra Modi and ousted Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Opposition parties in the parliament were able to secure 174 votes in the 342-member National Assembly in support of the no-confidence motion.

PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq, who was chairing the Session of the National Assembly has announced that 174 members have recorded their votes in favour of the resolution, consequently the resolution for the vote on no-confidence against Imran Khan has been passed by a majority.

The vote was held midnight of Friday after Opposition parties brought a motion against Khan, which was upheld by the Supreme Court.

After announcing results, Sadiq gave the floor to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, who is the joint Opposition’s candidate for the post of Prime Minister.

Minutes before the vote began, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser along with Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri resigned.

During the vote, members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were not present.

Imran Khan has become the first sitting Prime Minister in the history of Pakistan to be removed from the office through no-trust vote.

In the meantime, Pakistan’s opposition politician, Shehbaz Sharif has submitted his nomination to be the country’s next prime minister.

The younger brother of three-times Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 70-year-old Shehbaz led the opposition efforts in parliament that eventually toppled now former PM Khan in the early hours of Sunday morning.

After submitting his nomination to the legislature on Sunday, Shehbaz said Khan’s departure was a chance for a new beginning in Pakistan. Shehbaz, the centrist Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party chief, is widely expected to be named the country’s new prime minister on Monday.

“A new dawn has started … This alliance will rebuild Pakistan,” Shehbaz told parliament on Sunday. His first tasks will be to repair relations with the powerful military as well as the United States, and tend to a faltering economy.

Khan had antagonised the US throughout his tenure, welcoming the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year and more recently accusing Washington of being behind the attempt to remove him, an allegation the US had dismissed.

Khan’s sacking is not just seen as being in connection with the lavish praise he heaped on the leader of his bitter rival country, India, for the latter’s ‘independent’ foreign policy alignment over the Ukraine invasion by Russia, as both countries were among the 58 nations which abstained from the voting process leading up to the suspension of Russia from the United nations Human Rights Council, Friday.

It is also seen as a national humiliation and disaster for a Pakistani leader to praise an Indian politician, country and vice versa.

Muslim-populated Pakistan and Hindu-India have never been on friendly terms in international relations since political independence from Great Britain.

Pakistan, along with Nigeria also abstained from the voting process, which saw 93 vote on favour and 24 against the suspension of Russia from the UN council over war crimes committed in the invasion of Ukraine.

In passing a no-confidence vote in Khan, the Pakistani parliamentarians frowned at their country’s leader praising India, a rival sister nation they have been in perpetual conflict with since gaining political independence from Great Britain, with the theatre of war being in the Indian-administered Muslim population of Kashmir.

The Pakistani parliamentarians also questioned the rationale behind abstaining from the voting process on the grounds of wanting to be independent, when it also failed to recongise Ukraine’s right as a sovereign nation.

India under PM Modi also abstained from voting at the UN to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, back in March.

Neither the Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor the minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has yet to explain the decision by the country to abstain from the voting process of suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council over its invasion of Ukraine.

Nigeria had previously voted at the United Nations General Assembly in March to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops which began on February 24.

In the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, 93 nations voted in favour of the resolution to remove Russia from the human rights council, in response to Moscow’s invasion and alleged rights abuses in Ukraine.

Russia is only the second nation after Libya whose membership has been suspended.

Countries which voted against the decision are: Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Nicaragua, Iran, Kazakhstan, Gabon, Central African Republic (CAR), China, North Korea, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi, Bolivia, Belarus, Algeria.

While some of the 58 nations which abstained from voting included; Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Cape  Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Egypt, El-Salvador, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Madagascar, Namibia, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, as well as India, and others.

Incidentally, much of Africa abstained from voting to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, as out of the 58 countries in abstention, 21 are from the continent.

In the same way as out of the 24 nations voting against the process, 8 are in Africa, including; Zimbabwe, Gabon, Central African Republic (CAR), Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi, Bolivia, and Algeria.

It would be recalled that the United Nations General Assembly voted, Thursday, to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council after high-profile allegations of atrocities committed by Russian soldiers during the war in Ukraine.

The General Assembly needed to vote in favor by two-thirds of the countries present and voting to remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. The measure suspends Russia’s membership in the Council and would launch a review of the matter if the UN deems it appropriate.

UN director at Human Rights Watch, Louis Charbonneau, said in a statement that Russia’s suspension sends ‘a crystal-clear message’ that they have “no business” on the council.

“Gruesome images from Bucha (in Ukraine) have shocked people around the world. Victims and their families deserve to see those responsible held to account. Investigators from the UN and International Criminal Court should set the wheels of justice in motion by moving swiftly to gather and preserve evidence of war crimes,” Charbonneau added.