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Pakistani PM Khan Loses No-Confidence Vote In Parliament

Pakistan's foreign minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was "disappointed" but will respect the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Pakistan's foreign minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was "disappointed" but will respect the verdict of the Supreme Court.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been ousted in a no-confidence motion in the country’s National Assembly, likely leading to a dramatic and contentious standoff between Khan and the opposition.

A total of 174 of the 342 members of the lower house of Pakistan's parliament voted in support of the no-confidence motion completed in the early hours of April 10 after a 13-hour delay and the resignation of speaker Asad Qaiser, an ally of Khan's.

With the result, the chamber will vote on a new prime minister, likely on April 11.

Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), called for the no-confidence vote and had said that if Kahn were voted out, his allies would nominate him as the next prime minister.

"We will not seek revenge. We will not put people in jail, but the law will take its course," Sharif said after the vote.

The session was called after the Supreme Court blocked a bid by Khan to stay in power, ruling on April 7 that a move to stymie a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly was unconstitutional.

There was no immediate reason given for the delay in the vote or for Qaiser's resignation.

Members of Khan's party had indicated on April 8 that they would attempt to delay the vote for as long as possible.

Reuters reported that Khan had met with Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa during the delay, but no details were immediately available.

Some political analysts say Khan has fallen out with the powerful military, whose support is critical for any party to attain power.

Khan and his allies had tried to sidestep a no-confidence motion that seemed certain to unseat him by dissolving parliament.

As the session got under way on April 9, Qaiser said he wanted the body to debate what he described as the "foreign conspiracy" to oust Khan, triggering an angry response from members of the opposition.

The 69-year-old Khan, a former cricket star, took power in 2018 with the military's support and widespread public backing, but he recently lost his parliamentary majority when allies quit his coalition government.

Critics have blamed him for the country's economic woes and widespread corruption and accused him of a disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late on April 8, Khan said he would not recognize a government formed by the opposition if the no-confidence vote passed.

Khan said he would "not accept an imported government," suggesting again that the move to oust him was part of a foreign conspiracy.

"I'm ready for a struggle," he said, calling for peaceful protests on April 10.