ISLAMABAD: Pakistani opposition parties on Sunday demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to “immediately” resign as they announced a roadmap to oust the government during a day-long multiparty conference in Islamabad.
The country’s major opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) — formed an alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), to start a countrywide campaign to remove Khan's government and hold new elections.
“The APC (All-Parties Conference) demands immediate resignation of selected Prime Minister Imran Ahmed (Khan) Niazi,” the opposition parties said in a media statement released at the conclusion of the conference.
In October and December, under the banner of PDM, the parties said they would hold public gatherings across the country and would a “decisive long march” toward Islamabad in January to overthrow the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
They said they would resort to all democratic and constitutional means such no-confidence motions and en masse resignations from assemblies.
The PTI came into power in 2018, after defeating all major opposition parties in general elections. It promised to hold accountable corrupt politicians, fix the country’s fragile economy and create job opportunities for the youth.
The opposition parties, however, said the government has made the life of a common man difficult through “record inflation, unemployment and a flurry of taxes,” and demanded that it bring down prices of sugar, cooking oil, petroleum products and utilities such as electricity.
“The crashed economy due to flawed policies of the government has become a serious threat Pakistan’s defense, atomic capability and sovereignty,” they said in a 26-point resolution, as they expressed concerns over “increasing role of establishment in the politics.”
“The establishment should immediately cease interference into the politics,” they said in the resolution, calling for transparent elections without any interference of the armed forces and agencies.
They also condemned “censorship and pressure on media” and demanded release of arrested journalists and incarcerated politicians.
A number of opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of PML-N and former President Asif Ali Zardari of PPP, have been facing corruption charges, which they term "politically motivated and fabricated."
In reaction to the opposition conference, Information Minister Shibli Faraz on Sunday said that a "peaceful protest is the right of the opposition parties," but the government "would not allow any violation of law."
In a tweet, he added that the conference was "a flimsy attempt" to put pressure on the government "to back off on accountability" as the opposition "has used politics for personal gains."