ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 3 April – On Sunday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s career was on the line as he faced a difficult vote to remove him from office, which could spark new political unrest in the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people.
For a parliamentary session starting at 11:30 a.m., a united opposition has presented a no-confidence resolution against Khan (0630 GMT). Khan is likely to fall short of the 172 votes needed to survive the no-confidence vote if they remain united. find out more
According to a Reuters witness, there was a substantial police and paramilitary presence on the streets of Islamabad, with shipping containers deployed to block off roadways.
Khan is being blamed by the opposition for failing to revitalise the economy and combat corruption. He claims, without presenting evidence, that the move to remove him was coordinated by the US, a claim denied by Washington. find out more
According to the opposition and observers, Khan, who came to power in 2018 with the support of the powerful military, has a rift with it, something he and the military deny.
Since independence from Britain in 1947, no prime minister has served a complete five-year term, and generals have controlled the country on multiple occasions, which is perpetually at conflict with its nuclear-armed neighbour India.
Pakistan has hurdles in addition to an economic crisis, with Islamabad seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund balance global pressure to prod the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan to meet human rights commitments while trying to limit instability there.
After partners abandoned his coalition government and a wave of defections inside his ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Khan lost his majority in parliament (PTI).
Khan has been described as “as good as gone” by Pakistan’s most widely circulated English-language newspaper, Dawn, but the former cricket champion has asked followers to come to the streets on Sunday ahead of the vote, and has stated that he will not accept a negative result.
“How can I accept the outcome when the entire process has been called into question?” On Saturday, Khan informed foreign journalists at his office. “Democracy relies on moral authority; how much moral authority remains after this collusion?”
“The move to depose me is clear US intervention in domestic politics,” he stated, describing it as a “regime change” operation.
On Saturday night, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), warned Khan will try to retain power despite losing his majority. “We believe the prime minister is attempting to save his seat by unconstitutional means.”