Pak Oppn alliance grills military establishment over political interference

The opposition alliance in Pakistan, comprising at least 11 different political parties, has lashed out at the military establishment of the country, telling it not to interfere in political matters, besides accusing it of supporting Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The 11-party opposition alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — has named former PM and recent winner in the Senate seat polls, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, as its candidate for the slot of Senate chairman, elections to which are scheduled to be held on March 12.

“There is evidence that intelligence agencies violated the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) code of conduct and tried to influence the March 3 Senate polls by threatening and luring the voters,” said PDM chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman during a press conference.

“The PDM condemns the move and warns that if the same tactics are repeated during the elections for Senate chairman and deputy chairman, the PDM would be compelled to present all the evidence before the public,” he added.

PDM’s anti-government campaign has been raising serious questions on the military establishment for supporting the ruling government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. This is the reason why the opposition parties call Imran Khan “selected” and the current government as “puppet” of its selectors.

The opposition benches have started to express serious concerns for the Imran Khan-led government after it pulled off an upset in the March 2 Senate polls, in which they retained their majority in the Upper House and managed to get its candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, elected against the government’s candidate, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

The setback forced Imran Khan to seek a vote of confidence in the parliament on 6 March. However, the opposition parties, who boycotted the parliament’s proceedings, declared the vote of confidence as illegal and unconstitutional.

“PDM demands that all the state institutions focus on their work and stay in their domain. It should be a permanent reality and not just an exception for a certain election,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“PDM condemns the establishment’s interference in politics and appreciates when it doesn’t do this,” he added.

Mariyum Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said the government is focused to use the establishment’s support in the upcoming elections of chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate, as it does not have a numerical majority.

“The government must be asked why it has nominated its candidate when it is in the minority. It only indicates that the government wants to use agencies or money to pressurise the voters,” she said.