Islamabad, Oct 16 (efe-epa).- Pakistan’s opposition parties on Friday held their first joint protest rally in Gujranwala city as part of their campaign to oust the incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan, whom they accuse of incompetence and being a stooge of the military.
The country’s 11 opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), announced on Sep. 20 the launch of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to start countrywide protests against Khan and military’s alleged role in politics.
Thousands of people attended the rally in Gujranwala, in the eastern province of Punjab, as convoys of different political parties arrived from all over Pakistan in what they believe was the first step towards overthrowing Khan.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto, of the PMLN and PPP, respectively, led their parties’ rallies against the government of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
“I embark on this mission as your foot soldier @NawazSharifMNS I have dedicated myself to your struggle, your mission for Pakistan and it’s people,” tweeted Maryam.
Bilawal, on his part, addressed the people at the rally underlining their fight against “tyrant rulers”, who worked against the interests of the public.
He added that the opposition parties would fight the current system from the PDM platform and restore the real democracy in the country.
“Go Imran Go, Your time is up,” he raised the slogan, addressing the prime minister, before a large crowd with barely any social social distancing or Covid-19 precautionary measures in a country with more than 322,000 coronavirus cases and 6,627 deaths.
Opposition parties blame the military for helping Khan come to power in the in 2018 general elections, a claim that has been rejected by Khan’s party as well as the military.
Khan, a cricketer-turned politician, has been facing many challenges ranging from economic mismanagement to rising unemployment, poverty, corruption, terrorism, and a bad international image.
Khan came to power in 2018 vowing to bring in reforms to overhaul the weakening economy, and work for the welfare of the 207 million population of the country, almost a quarter of whom – according to the World bank – live below the poverty line.
Currently, Khan is under criticism from the opposition parties and media for not delivering on his promises.
According to the Asian Development Bank, Pakistan’s inflation rate stands at 10.7 percent in the current year with GDP growth forecast of -0.4 percent in the financial year 2020, down from the 5.5 percent recorded in 2018. EFE-EPA