ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday accused the country’s security establishment of conspiring against his administration ahead of the 2018 general election and bringing Prime Minister Imran Khan to power.
In an unprecedented development, he accused the sitting army chief and director general of inter-service intelligence of ousting him from power, saying his government was functioning otherwise.
Sharif, who is on medical bail and is currently seeking treatment in London, was addressing an anti-government rally organized by the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in Gujranwala via a video link.
Previously, the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader made similar statements, claiming that there is a state above the state in Pakistan.
However, this is the first time he has appointed serving army officers, although the country’s top military officials urged politicians not to drag them into politics just a few weeks ago.
Sharif was disqualified from politics by the country’s top judiciary in July 2017 and was later convicted by a court of responsibility on corruption charges which he vehemently denies.
Local courts have already issued his arrest warrants and ordered the Pakistani government Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to bring him back to face more references to corruption against him.
Last month, opposition parties formed the PDM alliance and decided to launch an anti-government campaign using the platform.
The alliance plans to hold public rallies across the country in the coming weeks, and the Gujranwala Friday rally, which brought together top opposition politicians, was held to kick off the political campaign across the country. .
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Sharifs and political heiress, also addressed the rally, saying no one should be allowed to oust the country’s democratically elected leaders.
Governments should go through your vote, she told thousands of people gathered in a stadium in Gujranwala, and no one else should have the right to dislodge an elected administration. You have to be accountable, and if someone else is, you should take care of it.
When the vote is not honored, she went on to criticize the ruling PTI administration, then the public must suffer as you suffer today. Imran Khan has spoken of corruption, but you will all be shocked when stories of his corruption come out to the public.
The PML-N vice president also criticized the prime minister for making repeated statements that his government and state institutions were on the same page, saying: Let me remind you that ‘it doesn’t take long to turn the page.
The PDM rally was also attended by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, who focused on rising inflation and criticized the government’s economic policies.
People are worried and the economy has taken a nosedive, he said. Is this the change promised by the PTI? The change is that unemployment, inflation and poverty are at all-time highs today.
He also alleged that a unilateral accountability campaign was underway in the country.
We want the end of corruption, equal rights and accountability. You can hold former presidents and prime ministers to account, but there should also be accountability of judges and generals on corruption charges, he argued.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam party and the chairman of the opposition alliance PDM also spoke on the occasion, predicting political change in the country for the foreseeable future.
The days of false leaders are numbered as all democratic forces in Pakistan have started the movement, he said. The leaders will not be in power until December of this year.
Our struggle will continue until the supremacy of the constitution [prevails] and there are excuses [on the part of] institutions, he added.
Countries are led by responsibility and commitment, not by confrontation, and we will achieve this by making a collective effort.
The government has officially announced that the opposition alliance may hold its rallies at specifically designated locations. Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the PTI administration authorized the rallies because protest is the right of every political party.
The PM Khans PTI party came to power in August 2018 after defeating all the main opposition parties. The opposition alliance, however, said the party won a rigged election, which the government denies.
So far, there has been no official response to allegations made by opposition parties during the rally.
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