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Pak PM Imran Khan cancels speech to nation; resignation may come directly now

Pak PM Imran Khan cancels speech to nation; resignation may come directly now

New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday cancelled an address to the nation amid whispers that he may resign ahead of the no-confidence vote this week.

The announcement comes after the Pakistani Army chief and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) met with Mr Khan earlier today.

Khan is facing a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition parties, which holds him responsible for mismanaging Pakistan's economy.

In a tweet, Pakistani Senator Faisal Javed Khan of Mr Khan's party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, also confirmed that the embattled Prime Minister has cancelled his speech today.

However, Pakistan information and broadcasting minister Fawad Chaudhry rejected speculations of resignation saying that Imran Khan will fight till the last ball.

Mr Khan's future looked increasingly in doubt after a key coalition partner switched allegiance ahead of the parliamentary no-confidence vote this weekend.

A debate on the no-confidence motion is due to start tomorrow, leaving Mr Khan scrambling to keep his own PTI members on his side -- as well as a slew of minority parties.

On paper, the PTI and coalition partners have 176 seats in the 342-member assembly, but today the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or 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.

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

The PML-N and PPP dominated national politics for decades until Mr Khan forged a coalition against the usually feuding dynastic groups.

He was elected after promising to sweep away decades of entrenched corruption and cronyism, but has struggled to maintain support with inflation skyrocketing, a feeble rupee and crippling debt.

Some analysts say Mr Khan has also lost the crucial support of the military -- claims both sides deny -- and Pakistan's army is key to political power.

Mr 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.

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TAGS:imran khanPakistan prime minister
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