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crisis averted

Pakistan ousts prime minister with no-confidence vote

Pakistan's parliament ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan with a vote of no confidence on Sunday, potentially bringing a peaceful and orderly end to a political standoff many feared would result in Khan's arrest or a military coup, Al Jazeera reports.

The vote was originally scheduled to take place a week earlier, but Khan's allies in parliament blocked the vote, and Khan attempted to call for new elections. Pakistan's Supreme Court quickly ruled the move unconstitutional and ordered parliament to reconvene. Khan's allies continued to block the vote on Saturday, leading to a tense situation that saw a prisoner van parked outside parliament.

Lawmakers needed 172 votes to unseat Khan. On Sunday, they got 174, including several members of Khan's governing coalition.

Ahead of the vote, Khan repeatedly accused the United States of plotting to overthrow him and said he would not accept an "imported government" if he lost the vote. The U.S. has denied Khan's claims.

On Monday, Pakistan's parliament is expected to elect Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to replace Khan, according to Al Jazeera.  

Khan is the first prime minister of Pakistan to be removed from office by a vote of no confidence. Since Pakistan became independent in 1947, no prime minister has completed a full five-year term.