Opposition calls for arrest of Pakistani prime minister

Supporters of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan rally in Islamabad
(Image credit: Asad Zaidi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Members of Pakistan's opposition called for the arrest of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday after the embattled leader's allies in parliament continued to block a no-confidence vote that the country's Supreme Court had ordered to proceed, NDTV reports.

Government sources told Al Jazeera just after 10:00 p.m. local time that the vote would not take place on Saturday. Per NDTV, local news reported that a "prisoner van has reached the assembly amid speculations that the Speaker and Deputy Speaker could be arrested if the vote is not held by midnight."

See more

Khan said Friday that he will not step down if he loses the no-confidence vote. The vote, which Khan is expected to lose after several defections within his governing coalition, was originally set for April 3 but was blocked by the deputy speaker of Pakistan's parliament, after which Khan attempted to call for new elections.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The country's Supreme Court subsequently ruled that blocking the vote was unconstitutional and ordered parliament to reconvene.

The vote was scheduled for Saturday but was delayed again by Speaker Asad Qaiser, an ally of Khan. Khan claims that he is the victim of a regime change conspiracy orchestrated by the United States to install an "imported government," a charge the U.S. denies.

According to Al Jazeera and the English-language Indian newspaper The Tribune, the chair of the Pakistan People's Party has accused Khan of seeking military intervention to keep himself in power, while PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar has called on Pakistan's army chief to "play his role" — presumably by deposing Khan — if the prime minister continues to defy the Supreme Court.

Pakistan has fallen repeatedly under military rule since gaining independence in 1947. No prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Grayson Quay

Grayson Quay was the weekend editor at TheWeek.com. His writing has also been published in National Review, the Pittsburgh Post-GazetteModern AgeThe American ConservativeThe Spectator World, and other outlets. Grayson earned his M.A. from Georgetown University in 2019.