In what is shaping up to be his toughest test since coming to power in 2018 and could usher fresh political tumult in the nuclear-armed country, Pakistan PM Imran Khan will face a no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament on Friday.
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An alliance of opposition parties in Pakistan submitted the no-trust motion in the National Assembly secretariat on March 8, saying Imran Khan had lost his parliamentary majority after over a dozen defections from his party.
The loss of dissident lawmakers has left Mr Khan about a dozen seats less than the minimum – 172 – needed for a majority. The joint opposition commands 163 seats in the lower house, but could build a majority if most of the defectors effectively join its ranks via a no-confidence vote.
The opposition accuses Mr Khan of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy. He denies this and has called on the public to show support for his premiership by holding a “million-man” rally in Islamabad on March 27.
The opposition and political analysts also say Mr Khan has fallen out with Pakistan’s powerful military, whose support is critical for any party to attain power in the way the former cricket star’s upstart party did four years ago.
If Imran Khan is voted out through the motion, it would create history as a vote of no-confidence has never been carried against a Prime Minister in Pakistan although no one has ever completed a full term in office.