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Supporters of Pakistan's ousted former PM Imran Khan listen to his Long March speech in Lahore.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

On the road to confrontation: Imran Khan’s power trip

On Friday, Pakistan's former PM Imran Khan finally kicked off the "Long March" he’s been threatening for months. Khan’s move is a familiar one in this part of the world, which has a rich history of mobilizing to achieve political goals.

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Supporters of former Pakistani PM Imran Khan's block a Peshawar motorway toll plaza after he was disqualified from holding public office.

Hussain Ali/Pacific Press/Sipa via Reuters Connect

Crisistan: Pakistan’s three-way political poker game

Always on the brink, Pakistan is in crisis mode. Former PM Imran Khan, the cricket hero-turned-born again Muslim populist firebrand, was disqualified Friday from holding public office. Meanwhile, his deputies are being arrested, recorded conversations are being leaked to damage his credibility, and his supporters are being threatened with legal action.

But nothing’s working to stop the Khan juggernaut. And the country, strapped for cash and still reeling from catastrophic flooding, is headed toward further political turmoil.

As protests spring up in his support, the “Kaptaan” — Captain, as Khan is known for his athletic accolades and lead-from-the-front style of politicking — is threatening to launch a movement of civil disobedience by marching toward the capital of the world’s fifth-most populous nation and only nuclear-armed Islamic republic.

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Men carry children on their shoulders and wade along a flooded road, following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Nowshera, Pakistan.

Fayaz Aziz via Reuters

Pakistan underwater

Pakistan is in full-blown crisis mode. More than 30 million people have been affected by unprecedented rainfall and flooding — and one-third of the country is now underwater.

This deadly natural disaster came as Pakistan was already grappling with a series of out-of-hand economic and political crises. What’s the backstory and where might this all be heading?

Background. During the pandemic, many countries took on new debt to insulate their economies from the economic pain caused by rolling lockdowns, closed borders, and business closures. But even before COVID, Pakistan’s economy was struggling to stay afloat as a result of years of economic mismanagement, in large part due to corruption and excessive government expenditure.

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Pro-Russian troops inspect streets in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

What We’re Watching: Mariupol on the brink, Pakistan’s new leader, Finland’s NATO bid

Is Mariupol on the brink?

The fight for the strategic southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol continues to rage. Unconfirmed reports late Monday pointed to the possible use of chemical weapons dropped by a Russian drone. US and British officials said they were monitoring reports of the possible chemical attack. The fate of Mariupol is critical for the next phase of the war. If Russia is able to take the city, it would be able to do two things: establish a land bridge to Crimea and punch northward as part of a broader effort to encircle Ukrainian forces fighting in the Donbas. As Russia now points its army towards a full-fledged assault on eastern Ukraine, Kyiv has warned of the bloodiest land battles in Europe since World War II and pleaded for more military assistance from the West.

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