Pakistan opposition hopes no-confidence motion will oust PM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani opposition legislators launched a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament Monday hoping to oust Khan’s government amid accusations he has mismanaged the nation’s economy.

An alliance of opposition lawmakers called the Pakistan Democratic Movement has been trying to woo Khan’s coalition partners away, some of whom seemed ready to desert him.

Shahbaz Sharif, the opposition leader in the National Assembly or lower house of the parliament, proposed the no-confidence motion against Khan.

Qasim Suri, parliament’s deputy speaker, accepted the motion and adjourned the body until Thursday, when lawmakers will begin three days of debate before holding a vote. Pakistan’s opposition says it has the required 172 votes in the 342-seat house to oust Khan’s government.

Political chaos ensued after the opposition announced it would bring a vote of no confidence against Khan weeks ago, endangering the government. It marked the toughest challenge of Khan’s political life.

Monday’s development came a day after Khan at a rally vowed to defeat the no-confidence effort with the help of lawmakers from his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and political allies.

In response to Khan’s’ Sunday rally, an opposition alliance held a mammoth anti-government rally attended by tens of thousands of people in Islamabad.

But on Monday, four lawmakers announced they were quitting Khan’s coalition government, strengthening the opposition.

Khan came into power in 2018 elections, securing 176 votes. He needs 172 votes to remain in power but about a dozen lawmakers from his ruling party have revolted, accusing Khan of mismanaging the country’s economy

“We have the support of required lawmakers to oust Imran Khan’s government,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of the key opposition Pakistan People’s Party told reporters.

But Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed vowed the no-confidence motion will be defeated.

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