Pakistan’s Prime Minister (PM), Imran Khan, has been ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership.
The vote was held past midnight after opposition parties brought a motion against him, following days of drama.
The motion was first brought last week, but the former cricket star blocked it by dissolving Parliament.
Sunday’s vote took place after the country’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of opposition parties and said that Mr Khan had acted unconstitutionally.
Opposition leader, Shehbaz Sharif – who is expected to be chosen as the new prime minister on Monday – said Pakistan and its Parliament were “finally freed from a serious crisis”, adding in a tweet: “Congratulations to the Pakistani nation on a new dawn.”
If voted in by Parliament, Mr Sharif – a long-time rival of Mr Khan and brother of former three-time Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif – would be able to hold power until October 2023 when the next election would be held.
The vote makes Mr Khan the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted by a no-confidence motion, with opposition parties securing 174 votes in the 342-member House in support of the no-confidence motion.
His supporters took to the streets on Sunday evening.
Mr Khan had previously said he would not recognise an opposition government, claiming – without evidence – that there was a US-led conspiracy to remove him because of his refusal to stand with Washington on issues against Russia and China.
He has repeatedly said that Pakistan’s opposition parties were working with foreign powers. Members of his party (PTI) left the building just ahead of the vote, also insisting he was the victim of an international conspiracy.
The US has said there was”no truth” in these allegations, and Mr Khan has never provided any evidence.
The vote was initially due to take place in Parliament last Sunday, but Deputy Speaker, Qasim Suri – a member of Mr Khan’s political party – swiftly blocked the motion, saying it showed “foreign interference”.