A broad alliance of Pakistan’s opposition parties has firmed up protest plans to topple the military-backed government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, triggering fears of another upheaval for a chaotic democracy.
At least 11 parties hostile to Khan and the generals backing his administration said they would rally in all major cities over the next two and half months.
After piling pressure on Khan through those half-dozen rallies, the parties plan to launch what its leaders called a decisive march on the capital Islamabad early 2021.
The launch event is a public meeting on Oct. 16 in Gujranwala.
The parties of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ex-President Asif Zardari are part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, or PDM, the newly-formed alliance announced last month.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Head of an Islamic Group with immense support, has been nominated to lead the alliance.
“I warned Imran Khan to resign before he is thrown out,” Sharif said in a speech he delivered to his party members through a video link from London, where he lives on exile.
Sharif became Pakistan’s premier three times but could never complete his term after tussles with the powerful army, which has final say in the country’s politics.
Sharif warned generals against meddling in politics in his speech, to the loud cheers of his party’s lawmakers who were watching in Lahore.
Pakistan, one of the few democracies in the Muslim world and a nuclear power, has been ruled by generals for almost half of its existence, periodically breaking democratic runs.
Political alliances like PDM have been a force in throwing out military rulers in the past.
Prime Minister Khan came to power in 2018 in controversial elections marred by the allegations of rigging by the military.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Maharazu Ahmed