Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
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Pakistan’s Imran Khan government does not expect to survive a no-confidence vote in the lower house of Parliament on Sunday, a minister and close aide of the prime minister told CNBC.
“The country is heading towards elections in the near future,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Sunday, speaking via telephone from the capital city of Islamabad.
The Pakistan National Assembly will begin to debate the no-confidence motion against the government headed by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party at about 11.30 a.m. local time.
Should the government fall as a result of losing the vote, the country will head for elections if the opposition is not able to cobble together a government.
Asked if there was a chance that Khan could become the first prime minister in Pakistan to complete a full term, Chaudhry demurred.
“I think we are heading towards elections … the kind of situation we are in now, the best way is to go for a fresh mandate,” he said.
The opposition needs the support of at least 172 lawmakers from a total of 342 to oust Khan in a no-confidence vote. Media in Pakistan are reporting that opposition parties have managed to get the support of 177 members — without counting dissidents from Khan’s own party.
Chaudhry also reiterated a charge made by Khan that the no-confidence vote was the result of a “U.S. conspiracy” to topple his government because of an increasingly close relationship with Russia. Khan was in Russia on the day the Ukraine invasion began.
American officials have denied allegations of a conspiracy. “We are closely following developments in Pakistan, and we respect, we support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday.