Pakistan’s major opposition parties on Sunday demanded an end to interference by the country’s military leaders in politics, with former premier Nawaz Sharif saying the army has gone from a ‘state within a state’ to a ‘state above the state’.For most of Pakistan’s history, there has been either a military dictator at the helm of affairs or, when there was an elected government, a parallel government was being run by the military, Sharif said in a hard-hitting speech to the conference which was attended by leaders of nearly all major opposition parties.
The PML-N leader addressed the All Parties Conference, organised by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party, via video link from London where he is undergoing medical treatment. Significantly, some parts of the proceedings of the conference were censored on most local TV channels.The military’s interference has reached a point where, from being a state within a state, it was now a state above the state, Sharif said. “This is the root cause of all our problems.”He further said that our struggle isn’t against Prime Minister Imran Khan but with the forces that have installed his illegitimate government to power. While political leaders were consistently victimised in the name of accountability, army dictators got away despite subverting the Constitution and committing all sorts of crimes, he added.“We want elected leaders to run the affairs of the country, to manage the economy and to decide on the foreign policy.” said Sharif.
The former PM said that under the Imran Khan government, Pakistan has become internationally isolated. “The Indian government took advantage of the weak and incompetent government to swallow Kashmir,” he alleged, adding, “even Pakistan’s friends did not stand by it when it protested.”Now, Pakistan has to deal with the shame of trying to meet targets set by platforms like the FATF, said Sharif and added that the country’s economy had crashed, inflation is up while the Pakistani rupee is at a historic low and economic growth had significantly fallen.