Opposition parties across Pakistan staged massive protest against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on July 30. All the main opposition parties held protest rallies accusing Imran Khan’s government of ruining the economy and seeking to intimidate and silence its opponents. There has been a crackdown on the Opposition under the rule of Khan.
Amid mounting economic problems in the country, the protests were dubbed as the black day protest and highlighted the tensions in the country a year after Imran Khan came to power. While there has been a surge in fuel prices, and a plunge in the value of currency, there are additional charges of allegations of media censorship and curb on voices of dissent. As the Oppostion marches intensified on Thursday, the city of Quetta, Lahore and Karachi boomed with Anti Imran Khan sentiments.
In the protest all over the country, banners reading PTI brought price hikes, PTI brought joblessness, PTI brought economic terrorism hung over the main stage. There were similar protests in other cities including Lahore and Peshawar. Khan’s government is facing balance of payments crisis, and this month agreed a 6 billion dollar bailout with the International Monetary Fund. It has dismissed the opposition protests and blamed the economic turmoil on massive corruption and economic mismanagement by previous governments, accusing their leaders of shifting millions of dollars out of the country illegally.
There is a obvious crackdown on the Opposition in Pakistan. Last month, the country’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari in a case related to fake bank accounts. Within 24 hours of Zardari’s arrest, the crackdown was intensified by the NAB with the arrest of the PML-N leader and Nawaz Sharif's nephew, Hamza Shahbaz in a money-laundering case.
PML-N founder and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz’ father, is currently serving a 7-year sentence on corruption charges. His successor, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has also been arrested on corruption charges.