Madeline Sponlser, FISM News
Supporters of Pakistan opposition parties were converging on a stadium in the city of Gujranwala on Friday to begin a countrywide protest campaign to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, who they accuse of being installed by the military in a rigged 2018 election.
Nine major opposition parties formed a joint platform called the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) last month to begin a nationwide agitation against the government.
Khan, who came to power on an anti-graft platform and denies the army helped him win, said on Friday he wasn’t afraid of the opposition’s campaign, which was aimed at blackmailing him into dropping corruption cases against their leaders.
“We have come out for the supremacy of the law,” said Maryam Nawaz, the daughter and political heir of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, speaking from atop an SUV, which was showered with rose petals as she left for Gujranwala from nearby Lahore.
“Our struggle is against injustice, unemployment, and all-time price hikes.”
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is the main opposition party.
Sharif, a long-standing critic of the military, was sacked by the Supreme Court in 2017 on corruption charges and left for London last November for medical treatment. He blames generals and judges for what he says were trumped-up charges.
Pakistan’s powerful military has repeatedly denied meddling in politics.
The protest campaign comes at a time when Pakistan is experiencing an economic crisis, with inflation touching double digits and negative growth. The next general election is scheduled for 2023.
Sourced from Reuters and edited for brevity.