Allies abandon Pakistani premier ahead of no-confidence vote

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani lawmakers appeared poised to push Prime Minister Imran Khan out of power in an upcoming no-confidence vote, after a small but key coalition partner abandoned him and joined the opposition on Wednesday.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, has only five seats, but their move puts the number of Khan’s opponents in parliament at well over the 172 needed to oust him in the vote, expected sometime next week.

The development seems likely to be the terminal blow for Khan, who already faces a revolt by a dozen lawmakers from his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party who have publicly pledged to vote against him.

Nasreen Jalil, a leader of the MQM, announced the party’s decision to join the opposition at a press conference early on Wednesday.

Khan, who came to power in 2018 by getting 176 votes of the 342-seat National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, was expected to address the nation on Wednesday night. However, after a meeting with the country’s army chief later in the day, Khan postponed his speech.

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