Massive Protests in Pakistan Ask PM Imran Khan to Quit

Pakistan Democratic Movement Jalsa in Karachi on October 18, 2020. Photo: Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)
Pakistan Democratic Movement Jalsa in Karachi on October 18, 2020. Photo: Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)

Observers believe that the current protests are designed to divert people’s attention from the corruption charges that Nawaz Sharif is facing.

By Rakesh Raman

Thousands of protesters in Pakistan are holding continuous protests against Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and his failure to run the country, which is facing unprecedented socio-economic destruction.

Although the next general election is scheduled for 2023, opposition leaders are demanding Imran Khan’s resignation amid allegations of rigged elections in 2018. It is being alleged that he had won fraudulently with support from the Pakistan army, which now controls Imran Khan.

After mass demonstration in Karachi in October, the protesters held rallies against Imran Khan’s government on Sunday (December 13) in Lahore. The protests are being led by Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a new political group formed in September by 11 major opposition parties to carry out a nationwide agitation against the government.

Critics of Imran Khan suggest that under his rule, Pakistan has experienced constant attacks on media and suppression of all sorts of democratic dissent. The ongoing protests particularly target his mishandling of the economy, which was in deep trouble even before the coronavirus outbreak.

The opposition leader Maryam Nawaz, the daughter the former PM Nawaz Sharif, blames Imran Khan for causing unemployment and unrest in Pakistan, a Muslim country.

Observers, however, believe that the current protests are designed to divert people’s attention from the corruption charges that Nawaz Sharif is facing. A Pakistani court had ordered Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Sharif to appear before it by November 24 to avoid being declared a proclaimed offender.

According to reports, the court order came when Sharif allegedly refused to receive the non-bailable arrest warrants at his residence in London. Sharif is currently facing non-bailable arrest warrants for a corruption case in which he was allegedly involved.

Earlier, addressing a virtual rally from London, Sharif accused army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa of rigging the 2018 elections, after his ouster in 2017. Sharif also maintains that the corruption charges leveled against him are false.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan has pledged that he will not spare Sharif and launch a more forceful crackdown on opposition leaders who are misleading the citizens to protest against him and his government.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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