ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- Pakistan’s opposition parties moved a no-confidence motion seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, accusing him of mismanaging the economy and poor governance in the toughest challenge he has faced since taking power in 2018.
The move comes after the opposition, led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), rallied thousands of supporters to demonstrate against Khan, raising the prospect of political turmoil in the nuclear-armed nation.
“Resign in 24 hours and face us in an election,” PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, told the rally just outside the capital Islamabad. “Or be prepared for a no-confidence move.”
The opposition later submitted a formal request requiring Khan to seek a parliamentary vote of confidence. The opposition needs a simple majority of 172 and says it requires just 11 more votes to force Khan out.
“We will have more than 172 votes,” said Bilawal Bhutto’s father, Asif Ali Zardari, a former president.
Opposition lawmakers and political analysts say Khan, a former cricket star, has lost the backing of the powerful military whose support they say secured the path to power for his upstart political party four years ago.
Khan denies the military helped him into office. The military says it does not interfere in politics.
The speaker of the lower house must now convene parliament within two weeks, though it could take weeks before a vote takes place.
Khan vowed to fight any move to unseat him. “Whatever they do, I’m ready for that,” he told a gathering in Islamabad.
Both the opposition and Khan’s party are riven by factions. Khan won a confidence vote last year by six votes.
Pakistan’s next general election is due by 2023.