Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan faces a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday which he is widely expected to lose.
If that happens, or he resigns before then, a new government would be formed most likely under opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, but it was unclear how long it could last or whether elections expected to take place later this year would bring greater clarity.
The nation of more than 220 million people lies between Afghanistan to the west, China to the northeast and India to the east, making it of vital strategic importance.
Since coming to power in 2018, Khan’s rhetoric has become more anti-American and he expressed a desire to move closer to China and, recently, Russia – including talks with President Vladimir Putin on the day the invasion of Ukraine began.
At the same time, U.S. and Asian foreign policy experts said that Pakistan’s powerful military has traditionally controlled foreign and defence policy, thereby limiting the impact of political instability.