The former cricket star was defeated in a parliamentary vote on Sunday. The opposition needed at least 172 votes in the 342-member assembly to oust him.
The no-confidence vote was backed by a coalition of politicians, including more than a dozen who left Khan’s own political party.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court overturned Khan’s earlier order dissolving parliament and calling for early elections, saying it had “no legal effect”.
The Speaker of the National Assembly will now send a notice to Khan and call for a new session of Parliament to elect a new Prime Minister.
In a speech to the nation on Friday night, Khan reiterated the unconfirmed claims that the no-confidence motion was the result of a “foreign conspiracy” linked to the United States.
Khan said he was isolated by the United States because, unlike his opponents, he was “not easily used as a puppet by the West” for an independent foreign policy. He said he was not anti-American, but would not allow his country to be used as a “tissue paper” in a “unilateral relationship.”
He called for nationwide protests on Sunday against what he called “an attempt by foreign powers” to “establish” a new government.
On Thursday, the US State Department issued a statement saying “there is no truth” in the claims of Khan’s intervention.
“We are closely monitoring Pakistan’s progress, we respect it, we support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law, but when it comes to those allegations, none of them are true,” the statement said.
Sunday’s referendum marked the latest escalation of the crisis that has been simmering for weeks, with Khan already losing the support of key political allies and the country’s powerful military.
Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, has been struggling with political instability and several regime changes and military coups since its formation in 1947. Under the current constitution of 1973, no Prime Minister has completed a full five-year term.
Khan’s dismissal was only four years. There is currently concern that it could raise the risk of political instability in the South Asian country.
Claims of economic mismanagement
Pakistan’s main opposition parties have been campaigning for Khan’s removal since he came to power in 2018 following an election embroiled in allegations of vote rigging and fraud.
Khan’s response was to repeat his claims that the United States was inciting opposition against him.
His failure to work with his allies and the military led to the severance of ties within his coalition government.
Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections. They demanded that Khan resign before the vote.
Instead, Khan called for early elections last Sunday, after the deputy speaker of parliament blocked a no-confidence vote against him, making it almost certain that he would win.
The move and the dissolution of Khan’s parliament angered an opposition party that had been demanding his removal for months.
The opposition responded by accusing Khan of treason and asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to rule on whether the prime minister had violated the constitution. Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court led to Khan’s removal from office.
Khan’s rise in politics
Khan, arguably the best Prime Minister of Pakistan in recent decades, has made a name for himself locally and around the world as a politician, philanthropist and sports star.
Born into a comfortable family in Lahore in 1952, he graduated from Oxford University with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, and received a valuable education.
After making his debut for the Pakistan cricket team in 1971, he became one of the best players of his generation.
With his eyes set on politics, he amassed his superstar fame and became one of the most powerful politicians in Pakistan.
Angered by the country’s ongoing corruption, he founded his own political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or the Movement for Justice in 1996.
Khan won a seat in parliament in 2002, but his party was largely weakened in the political wilderness. In the summer of 2013, a crop of new voters was nurtured in stories about Khan’s magic, and the PTI roared in that year’s general election, although they failed to win a majority.
He led thousands of protesters to Islamabad against then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who closed the capital in August 2014, known as the Azadi March or Freedom Movement in a protracted sit-in.
In 2018, after more than two decades of struggle in politics, Khan achieved his long-awaited dream of becoming Prime Minister, promising a “new Pakistan” and the eradication of poverty and corruption.
During his tenure he faced many obstacles ranging from rising inflation to global epidemics. The Khan government has dealt with an unprecedented drop in foreign exchange reserves, accepting a $ 6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund last year.
In 2019, the growing hostility between Pakistan and neighboring India saw clashes between the two nuclear-armed nations. But diplomacy on both sides led to a protracted stalemate throughout Khan’s tenure as prime minister, much to the chagrin of the Pakistani leader for his professional and peaceful demeanor.
In August 2021, Khan watched closely as the Taliban began their uprising in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan has deep ties to the militant group and has been accused of supporting the Taliban when they fought the US-backed government – Islamabad has denied the allegations.
For most of his tenure, Khan spearheaded anti-US rhetoric, blaming the United States for the situation in Afghanistan. As a sign of broken ties, US President Joe Biden and Khan have not spoken since Biden took office last year.
Under Khan’s leadership, Pakistan maintained close ties with China. Strong economic, diplomatic and military ties are one of Beijing’s closest allies in the Islamabad region, while China has also invested heavily in Pakistan in recent years through its belt and road trade and infrastructure program.
Khan refused to condemn Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, prompting repeated calls for his resignation.
On a state visit last month, Khan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 24, the day Russia launched its offensive against its democratically governed neighbor.
Khan won a vote of confidence in parliament a year ago, citing poor foreign policy decisions and rising inflation. But on Sunday, his luck dropped.
Correction: An earlier version of this story was misrepresented during the voting. It’s Sunday.