Pakistan PM Imran Khan defiant before no-confidence vote

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he will not resign, striking a defiant tone ahead of a no-confidence vote expected to take place on Sunday.

Khan, 69, lost his majority in parliament on Wednesday when a key ally quit his coalition, which could give the opposition the 172 votes in the 342-seat house needed to force him out.

The opposition has accused him of corruption and economic mismanagement, amid high inflation and a weakening currency.

“There is only one honourable exit for [Khan] and that is resignation,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), told reporters on Thursday.

But Khan, in a live address to the nation later on Thursday, rejected calls to step down.

“I will fight until the last ball,” the former cricket star turned politician said.

Khan also accused the United States of conspiring with Pakistan’s opposition to force him out, saying Washington wanted him to be deposed because he had been pursuing an independent foreign policy and had visited Russia after Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government said a diplomatic cable received from a foreign mission had revealed the conspiracy.

Khan said the document had contained a warning that “if Imran Khan remains the prime minister, our ties will suffer and you will face difficulties.”

“I will never let this conspiracy succeed, come what may,” Khan said.

On Wednesday, the US Department of State released a statement denying the allegations.

Khan’s opponents said the Pakistani prime minister’s claims about a conspiracy were baseless.

“If this has been portrayed as a threat aimed at regime change, then it’s nothing but preposterous because diplomats sometimes speak quite frankly,” she said.

 

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