Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that if he is ousted from power, he will not recognise an opposition government.
He was speaking ahead of a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday, which he is expected to lose. Khan said he accepted the Supreme Court decision that he must face the vote, but repeated claims the US is leading a conspiracy to remove him.
He did not provide evidence. Washington denies the accusations.
Khan visited Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin as Russia was launching the invasion of Ukraine and has previously criticised the US’s “war on terror”.
The prime minister is widely regarded as having come to power with the help of Pakistan’s army, but now observers say they have fallen out.
A number of his coalition partners have also deserted him.
During his Friday address, Mr Khan urged people to come out of their houses to protest against the “foreign-funded drama” on Sunday.
He added: “I will be there with you as I will never accept this foreign conspiracy against Pakistan.”
The leader of the opposition, Shehbaz Sharif, said the decision to go forward with a vote of no-confidence had “saved Pakistan and the constitution”.
Today’s confidence vote comes after opposition lawmakers put forward a no-confidence motion to parliament last Sunday, in a bid to oust Mr Khan from power.
But parliament’s deputy speaker Qasim Suri – a member of Mr Khan’s political party – swiftly blocked the vote, saying it showed “foreign interference”. Mr Suri also said that it went against the constitution, which calls for loyalty to the state.
Mr Khan’s government went on to dissolve parliament and called for a snap election to be held.
This made several opposition members furious, with some accusing the prime minister of “treason” for blocking the vote.
Opposition figures submitted a petition to the Supreme Court to assess the situation.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s top court ruled that Mr Khan’s decision to stop the vote from going ahead was unconstitutional. It ordered that the no-confidence vote should go ahead again on Saturday, 9 April.
Mr Khan has repeatedly said that Pakistan’s opposition parties are working with foreign powers.
He claims that he is the target of a US-led conspiracy to remove him because of his refusal to stand with Washington on issues against Russian and China. The US said there was “no truth” in these allegations.
The expectation is that the former international cricket star,will lose Saturday’s no-confidence vote.
In the event that Mr Khan is ousted from power, the opposition parties will appoint a new prime minister who can hold power until October 2023, when a new election is scheduled to be held.
BBC Urdu reporter Abid Hussain says it is unclear what other options Mr Khan can exercise to avoid that outcome, unless he and his MPs decide to submit a resignation in an attempt to avoid the humiliation of a defeat.
Source: BBC World