On 26 May, ousted Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan gave authorities a six-day ultimatum to declare a date for new elections.
“I want to give a message to this imported government to announce elections within six days. Dissolve the assemblies and call an election in June,” Khan stated.
His warning came one day after mass popular demonstrations in Islamabad against the US-orchestrated plot that removed him from power.
Khan said that, if authorities ignore his ultimatum, even larger marches and protests will take place.
As thousands of his supporters poured into the capital, security forces launched intense crackdowns on the initially peaceful marchers. Over 1,700 protesters were arrested during the march.
Khan himself joined the rally, flying in by helicopter to a highway before joining a motorcade towards the capital.
We have entered Punjab and will InshAllah be heading towards Islamabad.
No amount of state oppression and fascism by this imported govt can stop or deter our march.#حقیقی_آزادی_مارچ pic.twitter.com/NMRNRU2F3G
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 25, 2022
Chaos, clashes, and road blockades ensued as a result of the violent crackdown. Khan eventually called on his supporters to disperse and return home.
The Pakistani government has stood by its decision to not hold new elections.
Current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif labeled the protests as an attempt to “divide the nation and promote chaos.”
A few minutes after midnight on 10 April, the parliament of Pakistan successfully held a no-confidence vote to oust Khan from office.
The former prime minister accused the opposition of conspiring with “foreign powers” to oust him because he would not comply with western demands to oppose Russia and China.
Pressure on Khan started after 6 March, when he made headlines criticizing western powers for pressuring Islamabad into condemning Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.
“What do you think of us? Are we your slaves … that whatever you say, we will do?” Khan said at a political rally.
On 11 April, lawmakers in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party handed in their resignations en masse prior to the vote for electing the next prime minister.
The lawmakers said they would not allow a government brought in by foreign intervention to take control of Pakistan.
An analysis by The Cradle emphasized that the current political turmoil in Pakistan is being prolonged by Washington urging Sharif not to dissolve the government, which would lead to new elections that would likely be won by Khan.
Furthermore, the analysis suggests the Pakistani army is not able to easily step in and rectify this political turmoil, as it has for past squabbles, due to its sensitive and unique circumstances.