ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday overturned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to dissolve Parliament, setting the stage for a no-confidence vote widely expected to remove him from office and offering a major victory to opposition leaders, who said that Mr. Khan had attempted an “open coup.”
Mr. Khan, the international cricket-star-turned-politician, and his allies dissolved Parliament on Sunday, effectively blocking a no-confidence vote. The move plunged the country into a constitutional crisis and sharply escalated the political instability that has embroiled Pakistan for weeks.
The recent developments have revived fears of unrest in the nuclear-armed nation of 220 million that has experienced repeated military coups since its founding 75 years ago.
The prospect of Mr. Khan being ousted by opposition parties, former allies and defectors from within his own party in Parliament is likely to damage his ability to rally widespread support ahead of the next elections. While no prime minister in Pakistan has ever completed a full five-year term in office, Mr. Khan would be the first to be removed in a no-confidence vote.
In its verdict Thursday, the court agreed that the move violated the Constitution and ordered the no-confidence vote take place on Saturday morning. If he loses that vote, as expected, an interim government will be formed and the country will prepare for elections in the coming months.