'We want our leader back': Imran Khan's supporters gather worldwide to protest political ousting

Police officers take security measures as people stage a protest against the Prime Minister Imran Khan's voting out by Pakistanâs parliament in a no-confidence motion in front of the house of Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in London
5 min read
12 April, 2022

"We want PM Khan back. We stand behind our leader Imran Khan,’’ chanted supporters of the now-former Pakistani prime minister as they gathered in the heart of London's Hyde Park after he was ousted by a no-confidence motion on Sunday. 

The former international cricket star turned politician lost his majority in the 342-seat assembly through defections by coalition partners and even members of his own party. The opposition had needed just 172 votes to dismiss him.

Khan tried everything to stay in power after losing his majority in parliament – including dissolving the assembly and calling a fresh election. But the Supreme Court deemed all his actions illegal and ordered them to reconvene and vote. 

Pakistan lawmakers elected Shehbaz Sharif – the younger brother of disgraced three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif – as the country's new prime minister on Monday. Pakistani media are already speculating the latter may soon return from exile in Britain.


Imran Khan came into power in 2018 when his party managed to get a 2/3 majority with other coalition parties in the National Assembly of Pakistan. He oversaw a new era of Pakistan’s foreign policy that distanced the country from the United States which is why Khan insists that he has been the victim of a "regime change" conspiracy involving Washington and his opponents.

The 69-year-old has vowed to take his fight to the streets in the hope of forcing an early election. His no-confidence vote was met with dismay by supporters of the beleaguered prime minister both in Pakistan and overseas including in the UK and US. Supporters from Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Scotland, and Spain also turned up to protest while nearly two million people tweeted in support of Khan.

In the UK, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the US embassy, in Hyde Park and outside exiled leader Nawaz Sharif's home in London's Mayfair – worth at least £7 million – vowing to oppose any 'imported government' and calling for an end of 'state corruption.' 

Young people, who make up the backbone of Imran Khan’s supporters, dominated the crowd. Waving Pakistan's flag, many vowed to send 'no remittances' to Pakistan until Imran Khan was reinstated as Prime Minister.' 

One woman part of the London protests was left in tears as she expressed her anger over the "unfair dismissal of Imran Khan," stating that there was a collaborated effort to get rid of him and that he was the only leader who fought for their rights. "We cannot accept the rule of corrupted thieves," she added.

"Apart from England, people from Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Scotland, Spain and many other countries have turned up to protest"

Since Sunday, Pakistan has witnessed a wave of growing public anger, with people questioning the idea of democracy where "people's votes have no value over the votes of members of the national assembly who can so easily sell their souls."

Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party take part in a rally in support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, after he lost the vote of no-confidence in the parliament, on April 10, 2022
Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party take part in a rally in support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan after he lost the vote of no-confidence in the parliament[Getty Images]

The sudden move in Pakistan’s politics has left the country shaken and the former PM has called for further protests around the country.

Speaking to a massive rally in the capital city Islamabad just two weeks prior to being ousted, Imran Khan told his supporters that the no-confidence motion was a foreign conspiracy to remove him from power and institute “regime change” because of his refusal to side with the West on Ukraine and a recent visit to Moscow.

Waving what he called a threatening letter from a US official, he said that the Pakistani authorities had been warned by Washington that they must remove him or face dire consequences.

In response, the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Washington was “closely following developments in Pakistan” and supported its constitutional process but there was no truth in the PM’s allegations.

After this episode, former US military chief Mike Mullen said in an interview, “I think we have clearly distanced ourselves from Pakistan over the last decade and Pakistan has more and more fallen under the umbrella of China,” indicating that relations between the two countries are not currently on an upward trajectory.

Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, but now the freedom struggle against conspirers begins again, with Pakistanis all over the world "rejecting the foreign conspiracy" while giving a clear message of "standing with virtue by denouncing the vice."

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Never in history have the people of Pakistan come out in such large numbers, highlighting how they are choosing to reject such a regime change. For many, Imran Khan has emerged as a valiant, prominent and promising leader who continues to amplify his staunch message to the country.

The people of Pakistan are now demanding early elections, with a belief that PTI will get a 2/3 majority, that they will finish their reform agenda and that Khan will take his country to new heights, as he had always promised to do so. 

Ihtisham Ul Haq is a London based, Pakistani author and journalist who specialises in current affairs, Pakistan, Afghanistan and defence.

Follow him on Twitter: @iihtishamm