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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Days away from a no-confidence vote in Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan is facing mounting pressure after a key ally in his political coalition joined the opposition on Wednesday, giving his opponents the votes required to remove him from office.
The announcement from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan or M.Q.M.-P, issued a critical blow to Mr. Khan, 69, who has been embroiled in a political crisis for weeks since the country’s powerful military withdrew support for his government and a coalition of opposition parties moved to vote him out of power.
Without the support of M.Q.M.-P., Mr. Khan has lost the simple majority needed to survive the parliamentary vote — prompting opponents to demand his resignation.
“He has no other option, he has to resign,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party.
Ahead of the vote, which is expected on Sunday or Monday, Mr. Khan has scrambled this week to keep his party’s coalition intact: He gathered thousands of supporters at a rally in Islamabad on Sunday, replaced the chief minister of Punjab — Pakistan’s largest province — to secure one allied party’s support on Monday and denounced his opponents as part of an American-influenced conspiracy to remove him from office.
On Wednesday, Mr. Khan met with the chief of Pakistan’s Army and the director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence, according to Fawad Chaudhry, the information minister.
So far, there are few signs that the prime minister is willing to step down. On Wednesday, Mr. Khan’s allies dismissed the calls for him to resign — a signal that the political turmoil embroiling Pakistan may only grow deeper in the coming days as he fights for his political survival.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is a player who fights till the last ball,” Mr. Chaudhry said on Twitter. “He will not resign.”
The political crisis comes as Pakistan, with 220 million people, grapples with rising costs of living and double-digit inflation that has sent the prices of basic goods soaring and fueled criticism that Mr. Khan was failing to deliver on his touchstone promises of reviving the economy and creating an Islamist welfare state.
Seizing on a sense of growing dissatisfaction, a coalition of opposition parties announced earlier this month that it would bring a no-confidence motion against Mr. Khan. In recent weeks, dozens of allies have defected from Mr. Khan’s own political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or P.T.I., while the opposition has courted other parties in Mr. Khan’s political coalition.
The announcement by M.Q.M.-P on Wednesday brought the expected number of votes against Mr. Khan in Parliament to 177 — enough for the opposition to win the simple majority needed in the 342-member National Assembly to oust him.
The party’s support also meant that the opposition does not need to secure the votes of Mr. Khan’s party defectors, which they had been courting in recent weeks. In a bid to stave off the threat of defections, Mr. Khan’s government has gone to the Supreme Court seeking a lifetime disqualification of the party dissidents. The court is not expected to announce its decision until next week.
If Mr. Khan is voted out of office, lawmakers will choose an interim prime minister to serve until the next general election, scheduled for 2023.
While Wednesday’s announcement offered a critical blow to Mr. Khan’s coalition, some in his ranks have not entirely lost hope.
“Imran Khan will sail through,” said Aliya Hamza Malik, a lawmaker, who recently met her party leader at his office. “He has told us to remain confident, and he is himself very confident and relaxed. He told us the ally political parties will stay by his side.”
To muster public support, Mr. Khan held rallies across several cities in recent weeks, during which he accused his opponents of trying to buy the votes of his party members. He has also said there is a foreign conspiracy against his government, in retaliation for his independent foreign policy. Mr. Khan has been critical of Pakistan’s past alliances with the United States and in recent years has tilted more toward China and Russia.
On Sunday, Mr. Khan’s party members and supporters gathered at a huge rally in Islamabad. Speaking in front of a charged crowd, which his supporters claimed was one of the one of the biggest political gatherings in the country’s capital in recent memory, Mr. Khan defended his government’s record and economic policies, which have come under severe criticism from the opposition.
Pulling from his pocket a note that he said was evidence, Mr. Khan said a foreign conspiracy was underway in the country and local players were acting at the behest of foreign powers.
“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan,” he said. “We know from what places attempts are being made to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest.”
He did not directly name any foreign country, but in recent weeks, he and his party members have been railing against America.
Mr. Khan’s officials have shared few details of the purported letter and declined to reveal its exact origin. Opposition politicians have termed the letter a political gimmick and said they doubt its veracity. They have urged Mr. Khan to present it before Parliament.
Security officials have also dismissed the letter, saying it is an internal diplomatic communication and it has been blown out of proportion.
Mr. Khan’s political fortunes dwindled in recent months after the country’s powerful military withdrew support for his government following differences over key military appointments.
He has been critical of the military’s newfound position of “neutrality” in domestic political affairs, and during one political rally said “only an animal is neutral,” stressing that people have to take sides when it is a matter of good and evil.
Senior security officials say Mr. Khan’s government should not put the neutrality of the armed forces to test. Unlike in the past, when the military was accused of meddling in politics, this time around the military has taken a back seat.
As tension between Mr. Khan and the opposition grows, many Pakistanis are concerned that the latest round of political upheaval and turmoil will have lasting consequences for the country, no matter the outcome of the coming no-confidence vote.
Though opposition parties have coalesced recently around a singular agenda of toppling Mr. Khan, they have historically been pitted against one another — an equilibrium that could return after the vote, analysts say.
“The country has gone into deep political crisis due to the no-confidence move by the opposition,” Enver Baig, a former senator, said. “It has created a lot of uncertainty, and political instability is expected to continue for a long time.”
“But if Khan is ousted, there will be a dogfight between different parties of the opposition coalition,” which, he added, “cannot be in the same boat for a long time.”