Pakistan PM’s future in doubt as coalition ally switches sides

A supporter of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds a placard with a picture of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan during a rally in Islamabad on March 27, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s future looked increasingly in doubt Wednesday after a key coalition partner switched allegiance ahead of a parliamentary no-confidence vote this weekend.اضافة اعلان

No prime minister in the country’s history has seen out a full term, and Khan is facing the biggest challenge to his rule since being elected in 2018, with opponents accusing him of economic mismanagement and foreign-policy bungling.

“He will fight until the last over and the last ball,” Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told reporters, using a cricket analogy to describe Khan — one of the sport’s all-time international greats before he entered politics.

Debate on the no-confidence motion is due to start Thursday, leaving Khan scrambling to keep his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members on side — as well as a slew of minority parties.

The country’s government is also battling to contain a rise in militancy by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), which on Wednesday announced a Ramadan offensive against security forces.

The group said it will start on the first day of the Muslim fasting month, Ramadan, which begins on Sunday or Monday.

The military said six of its troops had been killed near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday in an attack claimed by the TTP.

Khan had been due to address the nation on Wednesday evening, but it was later postponed without a reason.

On paper Khan’s ruling PTI and coalition partners have 176 seats in the 342-member assembly, but on Wednesday the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) said its seven lawmakers would vote with the opposition, which has a combined 163 seats.

More than a dozen PTI lawmakers have also indicated they will cross the floor, although party leaders are trying to get the courts to prevent them from voting on Sunday.

In the past, Pakistan parties have also resorted to physically preventing lawmakers from voting against key legislation by blocking access to the national assembly, leading to cat-and-mouse chases and even accusations of kidnapping.

Senior MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari tweeted Wednesday that his party had finalized an agreement with the opposition, led by the Pakistan People Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

Hours later, MQM-P heavyweight Syed Amin-Ul-Haque announced his resignation as tech minister in Khan’s cabinet.

Read more Region and World
Jordan News