Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday alleged that “foreign conspirators” were auctioning Opposition politicians “like goats”, ANI reported.

A day ahead of a no-confidence vote to oust him, the prime minister took live calls from the public, Dawn reported.

Khan has already lost his parliamentary majority after a key ally quit his coalition government and joined an Opposition faction. With the exit of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Pakistan), the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led coalition government is now left with 164 votes. The prime minister needs 172 votes in the 342-seat National Assembly to defeat the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition on March 8.

In his opening remarks on Saturday, Khan said that Pakistan is standing at a decisive point.

“There are two routes we can take,” he added. “Do we want to take the way of destruction or a path of pride? There will be difficulties in this path but this is the path of our Prophet Muhammad. This path is for our good. This path brought a revolution in the country.”

Khan compared the Opposition, whose numbers have swelled to 177 with nearly two dozen PTI legislators deserting Khan, to Mir Sadiq, Dawn reported. Sadiq, who was a minister in the Cabinet, allegedly betrayed Tipu Sultan during the siege of Srirangapatnam, paving the way for a British victory.

“There’s a conspiracy against the government right now and it has been proven that politicians are being bought like goats to topple the government,” Khan said. “The conspiracy started abroad and here Mir Sadiqs [the Opposition] are helping these people abroad [foreign conspirators].”

Khan also urged the youth to not forget the “traitors”. On Thursday, Khan had alleged that a “foreign nation” was involved in the attempt to unseat his government through the no-confidence motion and had claimed that funds were being channelled from abroad for the same.

While talking to reporters on Saturday, Khan said the move to remove him was an attempt at “regime change” supported by the United States, Reuters reported. The White House has, however, rejected any involvement in the vote of no confidence, saying the allegations are false.

Khan said that he will take the legal route against those who “betrayed the nation”, Dawn reported. “I met my lawyers today and we have a plan,” the prime minister said. “We won’t let them go free. All of them will be punished. We will decide by tonight the kind of legal action we want to take against them.”

‘Move to the streets today and tomorrow’

On Saturday, Khan also called for nationwide protests against the no-confidence motion. He urged the youth to ensure these demonstrations are peaceful.

“If it had been another country where such things were happening, people would have moved to the streets,” he said, ANI reported. “I call on all of you to move to the streets today and tomorrow.”

Khan also told the youth to raised their voices against the foreign conspirators.

No-confidence motion

The Opposition had alleged that the cricketer-turned-politician has failed to control inflation and was responsible for the economic crisis in Pakistan.

No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a full term in the country’s 75-year history. Political analysts said that the country’s military is also disenchanted with his leadership. In 2018 national elections, Khan was elected to power amid allegations that the military had supported him.

On Thursday, Khan remained defiant and said he will not resign. “If you know me from cricket days, I’m not the one to accept defeat,” he had told the citizens. “I will fight till the last ball, and whatever be the result of Sunday’s vote. I’ll come back with more strength.”