Pakistan army chief meets PM Khan amid impasse over no-confidence vote

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Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday met Prime Minister Imran Khan amid an impasse over a parliamentary vote to oust the premier, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The meeting comes hours after parliament was abruptly adjourned before the vote that Khan was widely expected to lose.

Khan’s allies blocked a no-confidence motion last week and dissolved the lower house of parliament, but Pakistan’s top court on Thursday ordered that the vote be held by Saturday.

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It is yet to happen, despite nearly 12 hours passing since the session started on Saturday.

Members of Khan’s party had suggested on Friday they would try to delay the vote for as long as possible. They have said there is a foreign conspiracy to oust him.

The cricket star turned politician has 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 Asad Qaiser to ensure the vote was carried out as a matter of priority.

The speaker said he would implement the court order “in true letter and spirit.”

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 say he 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.

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