Pakistan is on the verge of a political crisis as opposition parties in the country’s Parliament are set to hold a vote of no confidence to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has accused the United States of backing what he calls a “foreign conspiracy against Pakistan.”
Khan has faced growing opposition in recent years with accusations that he has done nothing to help Pakistan’s economy or quell corruption throughout the government. It wasn’t until earlier this month when Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party lost its majority in Parliament after several key allies switched their allegiance to an opposition coalition made up of various parties across Pakistan’s political spectrum. The first attempt to unseat Khan came last Sunday when lawmakers put forth a no confidence vote, which was blocked by Khan as he attempted to dissolve the Parliament and hold new elections. Meanwhile, Khan called on his supporters to take to the streets to oppose the vote while accusing the United States and other unspecified foreign powers of trying to overthrow him. The State Department has denied the claims, stating there is “absolutely no truth to these allegations.”
Khan’s attempt to block the vote was ultimately overturned by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which said Khan’s actions “are declared to be contrary to the constitution and of no legal effect and are set aside.” The Supreme Court’s decision paved the way for today’s vote, which is the opposition’s second attempt. Opposition leaders have signaled that they have the 172 votes needed to oust Khan. It is believed that current opposition coalition leader Shahbaz Sharif will be picked as the new Prime Minister.
The vote of no confidence is expected to pass, but it remains unclear how Khan will react to it. He has previously signaled that he will not recognize the new government, which may plunge Pakistan into a deeper political crisis with the risk of devolving into violence. It also remains unclear if Pakistan’s military would back Khan if he chooses to not accept the results of the vote. All eyes are on Pakistan tonight.