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Just In:Pakistan Prime Minister ousted from power following vote of no-confidence

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has been ousted as the country’s leader following a vote of no-confidence over allegations of economic mismanagement, bringing an end to his tumultuous term in office.

The parliamentary vote, held Sunday, saw the former cricket star defeated. The opposition needed a minimum of 172 votes out of the 342 member assembly to oust him.

No prime mister has ever served a full term in Pakistan, but Khan is the first to lose office through a vote of no confidence. It was not immediately clear when the assembly will choose a new premier but, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was almost certain to be picked to lead the nuclear-armed nation of 220 million people after weeks of high political drama.

The voting came after the country’s powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Khan, two sources said, as criticism mounted over the delay in the parliamentary process.

Lower house speaker Asad Qaisar, a member of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, who had adjourned the house three times on Saturday, announced his resignation, heightening the drama in the chamber.

“The country’s interests must be the priority,” he said.

Khan’s allies blocked the no-confidence motion last week and dissolved the lower house of parliament, prompting the country’s Supreme Court to intervene and allow the vote to go through. The prime minister’s supporters claim there is a foreign conspiracy to oust him.

Khan, 69, surged to power in 2018 with the military’s support, but recently lost his parliamentary majority when allies quit his coalition government.

Opposition parties alleged that Khan has failed to revive an economy battered by Covid-19 or fulfil promises to make Pakistan a corruption-free, prosperous nation respected on the world stage.

The cricket star-turned-politician had vowed to “struggle” against any move to replace him.

Before Saturday’s session was adjourned, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, expected to become prime minister if Khan is ousted, urged lower house Speaker Qaiser to ensure the vote was carried out as a matter of priority.

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