Gujranwala / Lahore:
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday accused the country’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, of overthrowing his government, putting pressure on the judiciary and installing the current government of Prime Minister Imran Khan in the 2018 elections.
Mr Sharif spoke via videolink from London to a gathering of tens of thousands of people organized by opposition parties to launch a nationwide protest campaign in the eastern city of Gujranwala to overthrow Khan’s government.
“Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, you packed up our government, which worked well, and changed the nation and country to your liking,” Sharif told the gathering – the largest since the 2018 elections.
The former prime minister also accused the head of the Pakistani spy agency Inter Services Intelligence of being involved in the conspiracy against his government.
Nine major opposition parties formed a joint platform called the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) last month to launch a nationwide agitation against the government.
Sharif, whose Pakistani Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is the main opposition party, was dismissed by the Supreme Court on corruption charges in 2017 and traveled to London for medical treatment last November.
He accuses generals and judges that what he says has brought charges.
Pakistan’s powerful military denies meddling in politics. The military’s PR wing did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Maryam Nawaz, the daughter and political heiress of Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto, the son of the murdered former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who heads their Pakistani People’s Party (PPP), also addressed the meeting.
Both criticized the Khan government for what they termed poor governance and economic mismanagement.
The protest campaign comes at a time when Pakistan is experiencing an economic crisis with double-digit inflation and negative growth.
The assembly speakers called for Khan to resign and for an end to military interference in politics.
The next parliamentary elections are planned for 2023.
“Go Imran go. Your time is up!” shouted tens of thousands of opposition supporters who had gathered in Gujranwala Stadium.
Mr Khan, who came to power on an anti-transplant platform and denied the army helped him to victory, said on Friday that he was not afraid of the opposition campaign aimed at blackmailing him in corruption cases against their leaders.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)