Thousands of People in Pakistan Demand Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Resignation Over Declining Economic Conditions Amid the Pandemic

Looking at the economic fallouts of the coronavirus pandemic, opposition parties in Pakistan have been staging back to back protests against the PM Imran Khan led government.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan
Pakistan PM Imran Khan warns of an upcoming refugee crisis in Pakistan. | File Image

The political situation in Pakistan is becoming more and more tense and conflict ridden with the passage of time as thousands of people are protesting against the government led by PM Imran Khan. Pakistan is facing a series of protests as the opposition parties have come together and are demanding the resignation of PM Imran Khan.

It is believed that the coming days will see more protests in the coming weeks as the political disillusionment and anger has been growing  tremendously in the last couple of days. 

The primary reason for the backlash being experienced by the PM Imran Khan led Pakistan government is primarily the growing prices of food items and the fact that Pakistan is now being forced to import even basic commodities like tomatoes, sugar and wheat. Pakistan has also been witnessing the worst ever economic contraction in about seven decades following a coronavirus lockdown. 

As the protests by the opposition parties have started to gain momentum in the country, the curbs on the media and the crackdown on the opposition by the ruling government has also become quite intense and stringent as a response. 

In an unprecedented move, two erstwhile prime ministers of the state namely Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif along with the prime minister of Pakistan administered Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider have been charged with treason for criticising the military.  

Just a couple of hours after the rally conducted in Karachi by the Opposition parties, the police went ahead and arrested Safdar Awan.

Safdar Awan is the husband of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter and political heir of Nawaz Sharif. He was later given a bail from the Sindh High Court. The Imran Khan led government has been continually critiqued by the opposition parties for being overtly pro-army and meddling in politics. 

The army has had a regular role to play in the running of governments in Pakistan but this is the first time since the top leadership has been named for ousting the elected government. The Imran Khan led government had said that the opposition is only jealous of the popularity and success of the government and has become desperate in its search for reasons to malign the government and it suggested that all the allegations being labelled on it are baseless. 

 Political analysts have maintained that it is true that the support of the army has been vital for the sustenance of the government led by PM Imran Khan, the government which holds only 46% seats in the parliament and is dependent on smaller coalitions for sustenance of its dominance. 

A recent survey conducted in Pakistan showed that 47% of the citizens felt that Imran Khan and his political party were responsible for the recent blows to the economy of the country  and 41% said that a series of causes could be sited for the same. 51% people said that the army should stay away from questions of governance and 40% said that the army has a vital role to play in the political dynamics of Pakistan. 

Looking at the growing dissent by the opposition parties in Pakistan, the Imran Khan led government has said that it will defend the military at all costs and has accused Sharif and his allies of having taken a pro-India stand.

The protests in Pakistan have been growing with intensity and the dynamics have been suggesting that this time the disillusionment and anger among the people has only been growing each day. Two back to back joint opposition rallies were held on October 16 and 18 under the Pakistan Democratic Movement. It will be interesting to see what kind of direction the ongoing protests in Pakistan takes and whether the opposition parties are able to make the most of this momentum and hold the Imran Khan government accountable for the widespread economic losses incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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