Rather than face a no-confidence vote that he was sure to lose and would see him removed from power, Imran Khan has thrown the country into turmoil by cancelling the parliamentary vote and instead dissolving parliament, calling for new elections immediately.
His ruling party’s deputy speaker cited “foreign interference” in justifying the cancellation, but opposition lawmakers have labelled the move an illegal and unconstitutional overreach. The suggestion was that the US was behind the vote, which required a coalition of more than 170 parliamentarians from both leftist to radical Islamist parties, and which they denied.
Khan is facing significant pressure within Pakistan as the powerful military and ISI are growing increasingly displeased at his anti-Americanism and pivot from the United States, formerly one of their largest benefactors, to an increasing dependency on China.
The opposition leader has gone as far as saying that the parliament would refuse to leave, and charge Khan with treason.
The competing claims will inevitably face the supreme court, but there is a lack of clarity on who will remain in power in the meantime.