ISLAMABAD - Weeks-long political crisis  followed by a political rivalry, claimed another prime minister before completing his five-year constitutional term as joint opposition sent Imran Khan home through a no-confidence resolution.

The country’s politics remained volatile throughout its 75 years of life amid assassinations, political rivalries, coups and forced resignations. Former prime minister Imran Khan faced a parliamentary crisis after the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s dissident lawmakers and his government’s allies joined the opposition ranks to support its no-trust motion against him. Consequently, he lost majority in the National Assembly—a prerequisite to remain chief executive of the country.

Imran Khan, who was in the fourth year of his constitutional term, climbed to the highest office as a result of 2018 general elections, defeating the two main political parties —Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Both these parties had contested the 2018 elections as separate entities, but soon after Khan formed his government at the Centre. Both the parties, along with opposition’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) came together to fight PTI — the party founded by cricketer-turned politician himself in April 1996.

In September 2020, as many as 11 opposition parties formed an alliance with the name of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to oust the then PM Khan from power, and despite some internal differences among them, the opposition ultimately succeeded.

A superstar, jet-setting celebrity, world known cricketer and then a popular politician, Khan rose to the height of his political career after a public rally at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on October 30, 2011. Since then, he did not look back and continued riding on the wave of popularity.

In 2014, Imran Khan’s political party gained more popularity, about which he used to call a ‘political tsunami’  when he,  along with his supporters held a 126-day long protest sit-in in front of Parliament House in Islamabad against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections. He demanded a probe into alleged elections’ fraud, creating serious problems for the then government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Following this, he led a campaign against the then PM Sharif and his family, seeking investigation against them after their names surfaced in the Panama Papers scandal. Ultimately, his efforts bore fruit as the Supreme Court disqualified Sharif for his involvement in corruption in July 2017.

Khan’s position in the Parliament was vulnerable from day one as his party did not have an absolute majority after the 2018 polls. The PTI had 156 seats, as many 16 short of a simple majority to form the government. But being the single majority party, he managed to form a government with the support of smaller parties. Khan primarily faced a revolt within his own party and then was deceived by the allied parties of his government and lost at the Parliament front.

A critical analysis of Khan’s career as prime minister suggests that he had turbulent times while in the office. PTI, the party led by Imran Khan himself, had seized power on the slogan of anti-corruption and bringing structural reforms, but failed to make any significant achievement on these two mottos. His government had to fight continuously to deal with the country’s ailing economy, resulting in a rise in inflation including sharp increase in prices of essential commodities, but could not get some considerable success on this front.

While in power, ex-PM Khan parted ways with his close aide and PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen after the latter was alleged for benefiting from the sugar scandal. But he had to pay the cost of this decision as Tareen formed a group of disgruntled lawmakers of the PTI, bringing Khan and his party’s governments both in the Centre and in Punjab to a weaker position.

As a politician, he is still popular in the country and divisive for the opposition. He has again challenged the main political parties to take them head-on by building a narrative that his government was toppled through a foreign conspiracy and opposition was part of it.

Khan, Pakistan’s first and only World Cup winning cricket captain in 1992, now has to prove whether he succeeds to keep intact the PTI as a political entity to challenge his rival parties.