In Pakistan, opposition parties are mounting pressure on the Imran Khan government to resign, and the message struck a chord with the masses, in a country now suffering double digit inflation and negative economic growth. Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), formed last month by nine major opposition parties is organizing nationwide agitations against the government.
Under Imran Khan, Pakistan has experienced mounting censorship of the media and a crackdown on dissent, critics and opposition. But the campaign against him sought to tap into discontent over his handling of the economy, which was tanking even before the global coronavirus pandemic struck.
Maryam Nawaz, the daughter and political heir of the former three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, told in one of the rallies, that the government has snatched jobs from people and the Pakistan Prime Minister has snatched two-time a day food from the people.
Earlier, in the early hours of Monday, police had arrested Maryam’s husband, Muhammad Safdar following complaints from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party that he had raised political slogans at the mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an action deemed illegal.
During a rally held on Sunday Maryam had shared the platform with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, whose late mother Benazir Bhutto was also Prime Minister of Pakistan twice.
Zardari, whose Pakistan People’s Party governs the southern city of Karachi said, Pakistani farmers have hunger in their homes and the youth is disappointed.
Last Friday, the opposition held a mass rally in Gujranwala, a city in the eastern province of Punjab, a stronghold for Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (N).
Addressing the rally via video link from London, Nawaz Sharif, the former Prime Minister, accused army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa of rigging the 2018 elections and orchestrating his ouster in 2017, saying the corruption charges brought against him were concocted.
The military, which denies meddling in politics, has yet to respond specifically to Sharif’s accusations. Imran Khan, who denies the army helped him win, has defended the military and threatened a fresh crackdown on opposition leaders.
The next general election in Pakistan is scheduled for 2023.