Why thousands of protests are being held against PM Imran Khan in Pakistan
Four big opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Pakistan People’s Party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur), and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, and some smaller ones, including the Baloch National Party and the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, have come together to channelise public discontent at rising prices, power cuts, closure of businesses and other economic misery.
The alliance of above-mentioned parties is termed as Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). They are asking Imran Khan to leave his post on charges that he was not elected but selected in the 2018 election by the Pakistan Army.
Credit to the pandemic and other factors, Pakistan's performance under PM Imran Khan has tapered down drastically. According to the World Bank, Pakistan’s growth rate has contracted from 1.9% in FY2019 to –1.5% in 2020; and inflation is at 10.7% this year, four points higher than in 2019.
The only relief for Imran Khan is that while he is being named in the protest, the real target is Pakistan Army.
From London, where he is under treatment after securing bail from his imprisonment in a corruption case, Nawaz Sharif has made two thundering attacks against the Army’s role in politics in Pakistan, singling out Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa by name to blame him for Pakistan’s ills.
Imran Khan, on the other hand, has hit out at the opposition for playing India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s game, in trying to weaken Pakistan by trying to topple his government, a charge the PDM has refuted at both rallies by heaping scorn on Modi and his actions in Kashmir and talking up communalism in India.