All of Khan’s lawmakers from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party resigned en masse in protest ahead of Monday’s vote, and there will now have to be urgent elections to replace them. Following the vote, Khan called on his supporters to take to the streets. His next rally is scheduled for April 16 in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan.
Sharif’s appointment comes after widespread protests in support of Khan erupted across Pakistan late Sunday. Tens of thousands took to the streets in key cities, including Lahore and Peshawar, to support the ousted leader. They chanted slogans against the United States — which Khan had claimed was involved in a conspiracy against him — and the country’s powerful military, which had seemed to withdraw its support from him.
Against this backdrop of political turmoil and a crumbling economy, Sharif now faces a challenging period as the country’s leader.
He was lauded for his ambitious administrative and infrastructure projects in the province, which saw advances in the education and industrial sectors.
Sharif was instrumental in driving the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and maintains a positive relationship with Beijing.
Shehbaz Sharif rejected the verdict, calling it “flawed” and “politically motivated.” Shehbaz Sharif is also facing charges for alleged corruption.
In recent months, Sharif had led a campaign to remove Khan as Pakistan’s leader over claims of economic mismanagement and poor governance. Along with the opposition, he had urged Khan to resign ahead of a no-confidence vote that was widely expected to dismiss Khan.
Tensions smoldered for days, with Khan repeatedly rejecting the criticism and instead claiming the moves against him were an attempt at regime change backed by Washington and some members of the opposition. The allegations were denied by both the US State Department and the Pakistani opposition.
In a dramatic series of events, the deputy speaker in parliament blocked the no-confidence vote against Khan. Khan then dissolved parliament and called for early elections. The opposition challenged Khan’s moves in Pakistan’s highest court, with Sharif calling them “nothing short of high treason.”
The court ruled last week that the blocking of the no-confidence vote against Khan was unconstitutional, paving the way for Sharif’s rise to power.