Pak opposition alliance against Imran crumbles
ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: Within days of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's hard-hitting speech challenging the army leadership's interference in Pakistan's politics, the grand opposition alliance created to unseat the Imran Khan government seems to be crumbling.
Not surprisingly, this comes with a little nudge from the military. While the government was unable to counter much of the allegations levelled by Nawaz Sharif, it was the army that sprung into action with a series of media leaks and statements which created rifts in not only the political alliance but in Sharif's own party PML-N, pitting his brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is also party president, on a collision course with his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who is party vice president and Nawaz's political heir.
The first statement after the former premier's speech to a meeting of the alliance came the very next day from the army chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa, himself. Meeting selected parliamentarians, Bajwa said Pakistani military did not have role in matters related to politics.
He added that the military did not play any part in the recently passed FATF-linked legislations, the workings of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the political proposals for Gilgit Baltistan (GB).
The government had rammed through a bunch of bills linked to compliance with Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog on money laundering and terror funding, in a joint sitting of parliament after several of them were defeated by the Senate.
Insisting that political leadership was responsible for all these matters, Bajwa conceded that GB had strategic importance and therefore broad-based consultation was necessary. The government is moving ahead with holding elections and declaring province status for GB, both opposed by India which considers it a region within Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan.
It was leaked to the media that key opposition party leaders had met with Gen Bajwa, and the head of the ISI Lt General Faiz. -HT