KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Tens of 1000’s of opposition supporters rallied on Sunday within the metropolis of Karachi as a part of a marketing campaign to oust Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, who they accuse of being put in by the army in a rigged 2018 election.
9 main opposition events shaped a joint platform referred to as the Pakistan Democratic Motion (PDM) final month to start a nationwide agitation in opposition to the federal government.
“We have come collectively to guard and rescue the folks of Pakistan,” mentioned Maryam Nawaz, the daughter and political inheritor of the previous three-time premier Nawaz Sharif.
“If this authorities is allowed to finish its time period, that may destroy this nation,” she advised reporters earlier than becoming a member of the rally.
The protest marketing campaign comes at a time when Pakistan is dealing with financial disaster, with inflation touching double digits and unfavorable development.
“Inflation has damaged again of poor residents forcing many to beg to feed their youngsters,” mentioned Faqeer Baloch,63, on the Karachi rally. “It’s excessive time that this authorities ought to go now.”
The subsequent normal election is scheduled for 2023.
The rally in Karachi adopted a protest by the alliance in jap Gujranwala metropolis on Friday, which was the most important demonstration in opposition to Khan since he took workplace.
Talking by way of video hyperlink from London to the Gujranwala gathering, Sharif accused military chief Common Qamar Javed Bajwa of rigging the 2018 elections and orchestrating his ouster in 2017 in what he mentioned have been trumped up expenses aided by judiciary.
The army, which has dominated Pakistan for half of its historical past since independence in 1947, denies meddling in politics or electoral wrongdoing. It has but to reply particularly to Sharif’s accusations.
Khan got here to energy on an anti-graft platform and denies the military helped him win. On Saturday he defended the army and the judiciary, threatening to get more durable on the opposition events.
However the opposition says Khan has failed the nation on all entrance from the economic system to governance.
Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is the primary opposition occasion, has been a long-standing critic of the army. He was sacked by the Supreme Court docket in 2017 on corruption expenses, and left for London final November for medical therapy.
(Writing and extra reporting by Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Enhancing by Frances Kerry)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.