Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) held a public gathering on Friday, October 16 at Gujranwala Jalsa. Many opposition leaders including PMLN’s Maryam Nawaz- daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef, PPPP’s Bilawal Bhutto Zardari- son of former President Asif Ali Zardari and PM Benazir Bhutto (late) and JUI(F)’s Fazul Rahman addressed the gathering. But former Primer Nawaz’s speech got spotlight because of his unorthodox aggressive approach towards PM Naizi’s government and military establishment.
Nawaz Shareef Points out Economic Crisis
Nawaz in his speech directly hit PM Niazi and his government by criticizing its economic policies and high inflation rate. Nawaz addressed the rally through a video link. He also highlighted the increase in medicine prices. And prompted PM Niazi about his promises of 10 million jobs and 5 million houses that he made during his election campaign.
He questioned Niazi by stating “the government used to say that they will give 10 million jobs, but about 15 million people have gone unemployed in this government. They said they will give five million houses. Tell me, has anyone gotten a single home?”. He also criticized the government for banning his speeches by stating “the government is trying their best to stop my voice from reaching you, but they failed”.
Are Gen. Bajwa and Gen. Faiz Responsible For Everything”
His speech got all the attention, not because of his criticism of Niazi’s government, but he directly called out the names of COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa and DG ISI Gen Faiz Hameed by accusing them of rigging in 2018 elections and making fabricated cases against opposition just to support Niazi. He also demanded accountability for them by stating “Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa ended my government.
According to Nawaz Shareef, the establishment engineered the 2018 elections and imposed the so-called incompetent Khan on the nation. They must be held accountable for their crimes”. He also accused Gen Bajwa of influencing the judiciary and horse-trading in the parliament. “All the actions against Justice Fiaz Essa and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique were taken on your orders, Mr. Bajwa”, he said. Usually, Nawaz espouses a polite and gracious tone, but in the Gujranwala rally he looked angry and his tone was antagonistic.
Is Nawaz Shareef Working on Indian Agenda?
In response, different PTI leaders criticized Nawaz by calling him working on Indian agenda because he directly called names of COAS and DG ISI. It seems like government is more interested in tackling anti-establishment sentiments rather than countering criticism on its own policies. In an address to Tiger force on Saturday 17 October, PM Niazi looked angry and frustrated.
Imran Khan Niazi was angry on Nawaz for directly calling and addressing the military officials. PM Niazi indirectly called three times former Prime Minister Nawaz a conspirator, by stating “Nawaz is working on Modi’s agenda and he has proved it by defaming the COAS and DG ISI”.
The Fight is not Against the Army, But Against its Role in Politics
PMLN representatives have already clarified it, that their struggle is not against Army, but their struggle is against the Army’s involvement in the political affairs of the country. Federal Railway Minister Sheikh Rasheed responded in a more aggressive way and demanded a ban on PMLN. It observed he was more miffed than PM Niazi. In the past during the Nawaz government, Mr. Rasheed directly called former (Gen Raheel) and current Army chief (Gen Bajwa) to take over through martial law.
Is the Challenge Real?
The political campaign has been launched by almost all the opposition parties of Pakistan against the government and it is for sure that Niazi will face the toughest time of his political career. There are numerous challenges the government will confront. First and foremost is to counter the narrative of the opposition alliance and that is the influence of establishment in the political affairs of the state. Secondly, the government has become unpopular in public because of its vulnerability in front of different mafias such as sugar, medicine, and wheat.
Only One Way Out: Reduce Prices Provide Relief
To counter the opposition’s narrative, it is important for the government to take back its popularity graph by addressing public demands. But the attitude of PM Niazi and his cabinet suggests that they are not interested in solving public queries rather they are busy selling their old narrative of corruption just to bash the government. It is clear, if Niazi will not going to address public issues, his government will face a lot of difficulties and the opposition will get successful in their agenda.