Pakistan PM Khan at risk from no-confidence motion, says key ally

FILE PHOTO: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad
FILE PHOTO: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan June 4, 2021. REUTERS/Saiyna Bashir

March 16, 2022

By Asif Shahzad and Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is at risk of losing his coalition partners in a no-confidence vote sought by the opposition, a key ally has said, pointing to a “tilting” of his government partners towards their opponents.

The threat of political unrest in the nuclear-armed nation is growing as the opposition seeks to oust the cricketer-turned-politician in a vote that could take place as early as this month following the no-confidence motion tabled in Parliament last week.

“He is 100 percent in danger,” Pervaiz Elahi, leader of one of the four parties in Khan’s ruling coalition, told HUM News late Tuesday night.

“They all have a penchant for opposition,” added the veteran politician in an interview, referring to the four parties, which have a total of 20 seats in the lower house.

Without them, Khan’s party, with 155 seats in the lower house, would not reach the 172 seats needed to remain in power.

Khan’s ministers have said Elahi will not secede from the government, while other coalition partners have said they are weighing their options. A spokesman for Elahi’s party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pakistan’s opposition is trying to throw out Khan after rallying thousands for a campaign in which he mismanaged the economy, governance and foreign policy. No Prime Minister of Pakistan has ever completed his term of office.

The joint opposition consists of major parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto and has a strength of nearly 163 in the lower house.

A simple majority of 172 votes is required for the vote of no confidence.

“They have the number required… even more,” Elahi said of the opposition.

Elahi, the speaker of the assembly in Punjab’s largest province, is negotiating with the opposition over the composition of the next government if Khan is overthrown.

The opposition and political analysts say Khan has fallen out with Pakistan’s powerful military, whose support they see as crucial for any political party to rise to power, just as the former cricket star’s burgeoning party did four years ago.

Khan and the military deny the allegations.

Amid the numbers game, both sides have called for protest rallies outside parliament in Islamabad, the capital, ahead of the vote, which analysts say has heightened the prospect of clashes and violence.

(Writing by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) Pakistan PM Khan at risk from no-confidence motion, says key ally

Bobby Allyn

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