Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday accused the country’s Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, of political interference that caused his government to topple and brought Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to power following the 2018 elections, Reuters reported. He also alleged that the military put pressure on the judiciary.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa, you packed up our government, which was working well, and put the nation and the country at the altar of your wishes,” he said in a virtual address while kickstarting a countrywide protest campaign in Gujranwala in Punjab province.
The rally, the largest since the 2018 elections, was organised by opposition parties with the aim to oust the ruling government in the country. Nine major opposition parties had last month formed a coalition called the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to stage a countrywide agitation against the Imran Khan government.
Sharif, who was the prime minister in 2017, was sacked from the top post by Supreme Court in 2017 over corruption charges. After being sentenced for corruption, he was granted bail to seek medical treatment abroad and has been in London since. Sharif has often blamed army generals and judges for what he claims are trumped up charges against him.
In his address, the former prime minister also accused the chief of Inter Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, of being involved in conspiring against his government.
Sharif called for Khan’s resignation and ending the military’s interference in politics. Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, who also addressed the gathering, criticised the government for bad governance and mismanaging the economy. The attendees also demanded Khan’s resignation, chanting “Go Imran go. Your time is up.”
Sharif has been Pakistan’s prime minister three times. He was first removed by a president in 1993, then by former Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf in 1999. Lastly, he was ousted by the Supreme Court in 2017.
Khan, who assumed power following Sharif’s ouster on an anti-corruption campaign, has denied that the Army helped him win. On Friday, he said that he was not afraid of the opposition’s rally. The prime minister claimed the rally was aimed at blackmailing him to drop corruption cases against their leaders.