India closely monitoring political turmoil in neighbouring Pakistan

Protests are taking place under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which is led by Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz has accused the army leadership of harassing political opponents of the government.

AFP
Khan is “incapable and clueless”, and his government is worse than a dictatorship, PDM leaders said at its second rally held recently.
New Delhi: India is closely monitoring the political turmoil in neighbouring Pakistan following an opposition-led movement that has targeted the current leadership of Pakistan Army, a firm backer of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Protests are taking place under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which is led by Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz has accused the army leadership of harassing political opponents of the government.

"While this is essentially an internal movement in Pakistan, India as the next door neighbour and victim of cross-border terror is closely monitoring the developments,” an observer of Pakistani politics told ET. “It remains to be seen if the opposition can sustain this movement. The opposition leaders have no special feelings for India and their movement is essentially aimed at the current military leadership."


The Pakistani Army is being attacked by opposition leaders, especially by Nawaz Sharif, in a manner it has never seen before. "In the past, several opposition leaders including the Bhutto family were ardent critics of the army. However, once in power, they accommodated the institution,” a source said. “In order to divert attention from the turmoil, the Khan government tried to deflect attention by playing the India card through the PM’s security adviser’s interview."

The PDM, which was formed on September 20, has launched a three-phased anti-government movement under an “action plan” to oust the Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government.

Khan is “incapable and clueless”, and his government is worse than a dictatorship, PDM leaders said at its second rally held recently.
ADVERTISEMENT

Under the plan, a number of rallies, public meetings and demonstrations will be held across the country, before a “decisive long march” to Islamabad in January next year.

Addressing the first rally via video link from London, former PM Nawaz Sharif had accused the military and Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI of being behind his ouster as premier and installing their “puppet government” by bringing Khan into power.

Sharif, the 70-year-old leader of the PML-N who was ousted from power in 2017 by the apex court on graft charges, for the first time directly named army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hameed of interfering in the elections of 2018 to ensure Khan’s victory.

On Monday, the authorities arrested Maryam Nawaz's husband and former army officer Capt Safdar Awan from a hotel in Karachi for “violating” the sanctity of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum.
ADVERTISEMENT

PDM leaders termed the arrest a desperate act of intrigue to split the opposition political alliance of 11 parties. Addressing a joint press conference on Monday, the PDM leaders were unanimous in terming Awan’s arrest, not just an attack on PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, but on the entire PDM.

“The two rallies organised by the opposition PDM have attracted large crowds belying ImranKhan's expectations,” Tilak Devasher, member of National Security Advisory Board and author of four books on Pakistan, told ET. “What will have to be watched is whether the PDM can stay united and if they can build on the momentum. The government will try every trick to destroy the unity and break the momentum. The clumsy arrest of Capt Safdar was one such example that backfired. The government is clearly spooked and likely to make more mistakes.”
ADVERTISEMENT

“PDM’s mission is to occupy the political vacuum that currently exists in Pakistan. Country’s mighty military establishment has its puppet Imran Khan in the Prime Minister’s House and it won’t simply sit aside and watch the country becoming a liberal democracy. Before PDM came into being, Pakistan’s former three-time democratically elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was booked for treason after he publicly named and shamed the culprits who crushed the country’s constitution under their boots. Then the Inspector General of Sindh Police was, reportedly, abducted by the military’s Karachi-wing and was forced to order the arrest of Sharif’s son-in-law for chanting pro-democracy slogans in the tomb of Jinnah before PDM’s rally in Karachi started. Pakistan Democratic Movement is simply exposing and condemning the growing intervention of the military establishment in the country’s legislative, administrative and judicial processes. Pakistan’s suffering civilians dream to live in a liberal democracy and therefore the PDM is enjoying such massive public support. This time it’s the People of Pakistan versus the followers of Ayub Khan, Musharraf and Zia-Ul-Haq,” remarked Pak watcher Ali Salman Andani.

In a shock move following Safdar's arrest on Monday morning, Sindh IGP, at least two additional inspectors general, seven deputy inspectors general and six senior superintendents of Sindh police on Tuesday applied for leave in order to "come out of […] shock" caused by the "episode of registration of FIR against Capt (R) Safdar”.

Those who submitted leave applications included Special Branch AIG Imran Yaqoob, Forensic Science Division AIG Dr Samiulah Soomro Counter Terrorism Department DIG Omer Shahid Hamid, Headquarters DIG Saqib Ismail Memon, Hyderabad DIG Naeem Ahmed Shaikh, East Zone (Karachi) DIG Capt (r) Asim Khan, South Zone (Karachi) DIG Javed Akbar Riaz, Larkana DIG Nasir Aftab, Special Branch DIG Qamar-uz-Zaman and SSP Intelligence Tauqeer Muhammad Naeem, Sukkur SSP Irfan Ali Samo, Anti-Violent Crime Cell SSP Abdullah Ahmad, Badin SSP Shabir Ahmed Sethar, SSP Korangi Capt (r) Faisal Abdullah Chachar and East Zone (Karachi) SSP Sajid Amir Sudozai.

The PDM plans to hold rallies in Quetta on October 25, Peshawar on November 22, Multanon November 30 and Lahore on December 13.Opposition leaders have announced that they would use all political and democratic options, including no-confidence motions and mass resignations from Parliament to seek “the selected” prime minister’s resignation.

Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
Download
The Economic Times News App
for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+