Pakistan opposition seeks end to Imran Khan’s ‘puppet’ rule

      Published on Wednesday, 25 November , 2020      20 Views     

  • Pakistan Business

They allege the prime minister came to power in rigged 2018 elections backed by the military.

Protesters demonstrated in the city of Peshawar on Sunday, despite a government threat to ban gatherings to curb rising coronavirus cases.

The PM, who came to power on an anti-corruption platform, has said the campaign is aimed at blackmailing him to drop corruption cases against opposition leaders.

Pakistan’s powerful military denies interfering in politics and Mr Khan rejects claims it helped him win.

The next general election is not due until 2023.

Who is behind the rallies?

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has held a series of mass demonstrations since 16 October. Its members range from a right-wing religious group to centrist and left-of-centre mainstream parties as well as secular nationalists.

Rallies have taken place in three of the country’s four provinces – Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. Sunday’s was the first the PDM has held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The rally was attended by senior opposition political leaders, including PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif, and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

The opposition parties say they want to overthrow what they allege is an “unrepresentative” leadership, accusing Mr Khan’s government of putting pressure on the judiciary and mismanaging the economy.

The PDM is the latest of a number of political coalitions which say they aim to restore “real” democracy in Pakistan’s perpetual civil-military conflict. This one is boosted by the return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to public politics.

In an unprecedented move for a former prime minister, Mr Sharif directly criticised two top military officials, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the chief of the army, and Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, the chief of military intelligence agency the ISI. He alleged that they were responsible for Pakistan’s political and economic woes.

What do the rallies tell us?

The rallies held so far in Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta took place despite road blocks and even some arrests by the authorities. Mr Sharif’s son-in-law, Safdar Awan, was arrested at his hotel room early in the morning after the Karachi rally on 19 October.

The arrest caused embarrassment to both the government and the military after footage of the raid emerged showing security personnel breaking into Mr Awan’s room while he was asleep with his wife.

It was reported later that hours before the raid, the police chief of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital, was taken from his residence to the offices of an intelligence service and forced to sign Mr Awan’s arrest orders.

Category Pakistan Business | 2020/11/25 latest update at 5:00 PM
Source : BBC | Photocredit : Google
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