SHOCKING NEWS | PM IMRAN KHAN RESIGN | LIVE UPDATE
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — PM Imran Khan refused to resign in a defiant speech on Thursday, facing the near certainty of being ousted within days in a no-confidence vote, doubling down on his allegations of a foreign conspiracy against him and deepening a political crisis that has beset Pakistan for weeks.
Khan accused the United States of inciting a campaign to remove him from office as part of a conspiracy to topple his government in a televised speech. In addition, despite losing a parliamentary majority this week, he pledged to face the no-confidence vote in Parliament on Sunday.
“I have never accepted defeat,” Mr. Khan, the former international cricket star turned politician, said. “I always fight till the last ball. I want the entire nation to see on that day who sold their conscience.”
Earlier this month, Pakistan was engulfed in a political crisis after Mr. Khan, 69, lost support from the country’s powerful military and a coalition of opposition parties moved to vote him out of office.
As a result of defections from his political party and splits among his governing coalition this week, the tide may have turned against him, giving some opposition candidates the 177 votes needed to remove him from office.
Mr. Khan, whose political support is eroding, has scrambled to keep his coalition together: he rallied thousands of supporters in Islamabad on Sunday, replaced the Punjab chief minister to retain the support of one allied party, and has repeatedly associated opponents with a foreign plot to undermine him.
A purported letter that allegedly contains threats to his government has dominated his political messaging in recent days. Letter purportedly came from the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, who claimed to have received threats from a “senior foreign official.”
“We received an official document which we must say is against our people,” Mr. Khan said in the speech on Thursday, adding that the letter warned that “Pakistan can face severe consequences if I survive no confidence.”
He displayed a piece of paper that he pulled out of his pocket at a political rally, saying it was evidence of an international conspiracy, but not specifying what country it was. Other details of the letter have not been released, and Parliament and the news media have not been provided with a copy of the letter.
The country he identified as the one posing a threat to the country was the United States, with which he has long discussed politics.
According to him, Indian officials said if he remained in power, Pakistan would “suffer”.
“No reason was stated,” he said. “They are treating Pakistan as if we are their slaves.”
Khan’s description of events was dismissed by American officials.
In keeping with diplomatic protocol, a State Department spokeswoman said that there is no truth to these allegations.
Pakistani security officials have described the letter as an internal diplomatic communication in which Mr. Khan has erroneously represented himself. Opposition politicians have cast doubt on the letter’s authenticity.
The political crisis comes at a time when Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim country in the world with 220 million citizens, is grappling with double-digit inflation, which has driven food and fuel prices out of reach for many Pakistani families. Despite the economic challenges, Mr. Khan has remained under fire for mismanaging the economy and failing to deliver on his key promise of establishing an Islamic welfare state.