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Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad.

REUTERS/Saiyna Bashir

Palace intrigue plagues Pakistan

Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan is no stranger to controversy.

He has called Osama bin Laden a martyr of Islam. He’s praised the Taliban for breaking the shackles of slavery. Khan hasn’t defended rape, but he has lectured women on how to dress modestly to avoid it – something detractors call a tad rich, considering his past as a West End playboy.

Yet, Khan, now a self-declared, born-again Muslim, has been brazen and unapologetic about his brand of politicized Islam. In office, he’s been decidedly anti-West and pro-China. And in a new foreign policy pivot, Khan stood by Vladimir Putin’s side on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, defending his trip to Moscow by saying it was “an exciting time” to be at the Kremlin.

But the 68-year-old Kaptaan — Captain, as he’s known for his cricketing accolades and carefully cultivated against-all-odds brand of leadership — is officially in trouble. Later this week, he’ll face a vote of no-confidence in Pakistan’s notoriously corrupt and raucous parliament.

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