Events in Pakistan’s Sindh province in recent days suggest that Imran Khan’s government is facing a serious political crisis, perhaps its biggest, since then. took office in 2018. Eleven opposition parties, currently in existence formed the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has staged two massive rallies, as part of a national agitation plan, calling for the resignation of the PTI government over law and order, food shortages, inflation and gas cuts. They called the Prime Minister a failure in government and military “doll”. But what surprised many was the solidarity and sharpness of their attacks: at the rally in Gujranwala, former PM and head of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) Nawaz Sharif, speaking from London, appointed Army Commander General Qamar Bajwa and ISI Commander Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed over “fraudulent elections”, restrictions on the media, harassing journalists, putting pressure on the courts and subverting other democratic institutions. While most Pakistani politicians, including Khan, have attacked Pakistan’s almighty military establishment in opposition, and abandoned rhetoric when they came to power, Sharif’s comments reflect popular sentiment that undermines Pakistani restrictions. The PTI government’s response is an outdated text. Over the past few months, government prosecutors, on Khan’s orders, have focused on preparing cases to send as many members of the Opposition as possible to prison. Co-chair of the Pakistan People’s Party and former President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has been detained on money laundering charges, while the government has repeatedly asked Britain to extradite Mr Sharif so that he can be prosecuted and tried again.
With the next generation of Bilawal Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz taking the stage at the PDM demonstration, the government moved on to the next action: arresting Nawaz’s husband, Captain Safdar, after a midnight raid on their hotel in Karachi, accused him of disrespecting Jinnah’s mausoleum by raising anti-government slogans there. What caused the fuss were the arrests reportedly made after Army police surrounded Inspector General Sindh’s house and forced him to sign the FIR against Mr Safdar. Top Sindh police officers, supported by the PPP provincial government, rose in anger, applying for mass leave after expressing their distress at the humiliation of their chiefs. This is an unprecedented response that could lead to more serious fighting between the police and the Army. Things are under control for now after General Bajwa promised an investigation report into the controversial arrests within the next 10 days. However, with politics heating up again and the PDM planning at least four more rallies this year, it is clear that Pakistan’s ruling party will crash more often.