Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan vows to fight on after the Supreme Court ruled he acted unconstitutionally in blocking an attempt to oust him – a decision that could end his premiership in days.
Last Sunday, political allies of the former cricket star dissolved parliament to thwart an opposition no-confidence vote Khan had been expected to lose after coalition partners deserted him to rob him of a majority.
The Supreme Court ruled late on Thursday that Khan’s manoeuvre was unconstitutional, ordering that parliament be reconvened by Saturday and for the no-confidence motion to go ahead as planned.
The court ruling is the latest twist in a crisis that has threatened political and economic stability in the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people, with the rupee currency hitting all-time lows on Thursday and foreign exchange reserves tumbling.
Political chaos would worry the powerful military, which has stepped in to remove civilian governments and rule on three occasions, citing the need to end political uncertainty.
Khan said on Twitter late on Thursday he had called a cabinet meeting for Friday, after which he would address the nation.
He signalled his defiance with a cricketing term: “My message to our nation is I have always and will continue to fight for (Pakistan) till the last ball,” he said.
Khan, who opposed the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan and has developed relations with Russia since he became prime minister in 2018, has accused the United States of supporting a plot to oust him. Washington dismissed the accusation.