Does dissolution of parliament in order to prevent a vote of no confidence against Imran Kahn meet an accepted definition of an attempted self-coup?

The Politicus
Apr 03, 2022 10:19 PM 0 Answers
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I first heard the term "self-coup" only several minutes ago during US Representative Jamie Raskin's April 3, 2022 discussion of the House Select Committee on January 6th's work on Face the Nation's House committee still lacks "comprehensive" view of Trump's actions on January 6, Raskin says

...people who have been charged with seditious conspiracy, which means conspiracy to overthrow the government. They shut down the counting of electoral votes for the first time in American history. (It) didn't even happen when Lincoln took the presidency in 1861.

Okay there was that violent insurrection, but then there was an attempt at an inside coup, what the political scientists call a self-coup. Not a coup against a president, but a coup that's orchestrated by the president against the constitutional system. And what we're looking for is the connections between the inside political coup and the insurrection, and I do feel confident (that) we're going to be able to tell that story.

Wikipedia's Self-coup; Notable events described as self-coup lists more than twenty evens, and its Self coup; Notable events described as attempted self-coup currently lists four; in Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, and recently in the United States.

Neither list currently includes Pakistan.

See for example the Washington Post's April 2 or 3, 2022 Pakistan’s prime minister skirts effort to oust him, orders Parliament dissolved for elections and especially Al Jazeera's April 3, 2022 report Pakistan Parliament dismisses no-confidence motion against Khan discusses the dissolution of the Parliament of Pakistan. Al Jazeera reporter Osama Bin Javaid says:

Well it is a constitutional crisis that Pakistan finds itself in. Right now opposition members are staging a sit-in at the National Assembly where this no-confidence motion was thrown out by the Speaker, the opposition insisting that (that was) unconstitutional and illegal. They say they will elect their own speaker of the national assembly, because they now have the majority, and according to the norms and rules of the constitution and democracy the prime minister should have faced a vote of no confidence rather than running away from the assembly.

The prime minister (is) saying that this is a matter of national interest right now; Pakistan is facing a grave threat from outside, and that's why he's asked the president to dissolve the assemblies. All of this has bearings because of the constitution of Pakistan, and with us is a former judge of the high court in Lahore, Mr. Mudasir Abbasi thank you very much for being with us...

When it comes to forms of government that have a president, a prime minster and a parliament I'm a fish out of water, so I will not try to quote nor summarize former judge of the high court in Lahore Mr. Mudasir Abbasi's answer except to say that he goes into some detail about issues of timing and the role that the Supreme Court of Pakistan will play in addressing the preemptive dissolution.

Question: Does the dissolution of parliament in order to prevent a vote of no confidence against Pakistan's president Imran Kahn meet an accepted definition of an attempted self-coup?

I think now there is sufficient information about Pakistan's government and constitution and the recent events that it is not too early to ask this question. Certainly the term self-coup should have sufficient definition that these events can be compared to a definition and this described based on the facts of the case and the laws of Pakistan.

I've asked about "an accepted definition" because if I'd asked "the accepted definition" the first comment would be "which definition do you want us to use?" and I'm generally loath to pre-constrain answers in areas so far out of my expertise. Answers should draw from, as Raskin phrases it "what the political scientists call a self-coup" which seems to be "a coup that's orchestrated by the president against the constitutional system."

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