Sat. May 28th, 2022

Imran Khan was voted out as Pakistan’s prime minister early on Sunday, ending weeks of political uncertainty that had fueled a devaluation of the rupee, dragged down the country’s stock market and forced the central bank to raise interest rates.

Following a tense session of the lower house of parliament that began on Saturday morning, a coalition of Pakistan’s opposition parties gained the support of 174 members in the 342-seat house for a vote of no confidence against Khan.

“We want to bring stability to Pakistan. There will be no revenge against anyone, ”said Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition after the vote.

Sharif, a scion of a leading industrial family and brother of former three-term prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was named the opposition’s candidate to become the next prime minister in a vote that may take place as early as Sunday, opposition leaders said.

Khan, a popular international cricket star, became prime minister in 2018 on the back of promises to reform Pakistan.

But his ouster more than a year ahead of elections expected by next summer comes at a time of mounting economic challenges for the country. The nuclear-armed nation is in the midst of a $ 6bn loan program from the IMF that has involved unpopular measures including increases in utilities prices.

Meanwhile, fast-rising inflationdriven in part by the fallout from escalating commodity prices, has prompted warnings of a popular backlash.

“Hubris, erratic governance, poor economic management and intolerance of opposition were among key factors responsible for his downfall,” said Maleeha Lodhi, a former ambassador to the US and the UN and now a political commentator.

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