Pak govt invokes sedition law against opposition leaders amid calls for ‘political revolution’


ISLAMABAD: As opposition parties in Pakistan form a united front for a “political revolution” to “bring law and order” in the country, the Imran Khan-led government has launched multiple crackdowns against opposition leaders using sedition law.
The latest case under the sedition law was filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “premier” Raja Mohammad Farooq Ahmed Khan on October 1.A First Information Report (FIR) was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by a local resident in Shahdra police station against the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader on the charges of criminal conspiracy for the “provocative speeches” he made in London to “defame Pakistan’s institutions”. Sharif’s daughter, Khan and three retired generals among 40 PML(N) leaders have also been named in the FIR.
As many as 11 Pakistani opposition parties, prominent among which are the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), PML(N), Awami National Party, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), at the conclusion of an All Parties Conference (APC) on September 20 announced the formation of a joint platform, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).A 26-point resolution adopted by the APC pledged to ensure that all organs of the state are run strictly as mandated under the law. It called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission to probe abuses against the people since Pakistan’s independence in 1947. Such an investigation can reveal a long, sordid history of military abuses, it said.
It also demanded that Prime Minister Khan and his ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party step down and announce fresh nationwide elections.Soon after the APC, PML(N) president and Sharif’s brother Shahbaz was arrested in a money laundering case from the Lahore High Court, according to Gulf News.
Shahbaz is currently on a 14-day physical remand.The PML(N) on Sunday slammed the government saying that “political revolution” in the country would be possible only through the newly formed alliance, adding that the opposition leaders are being “silenced” for speaking against a “corrupt” government.Besides the PML(N) president, the country’s anti-corruption body — National Accountability Bureau — has also issued a notice to JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman.According to Dawn, the notice against Rehman and others pertains to “corruption and corrupt practices/accumulation of assets beyond means”.Meanwhile, an accountability court indicted former president Asif Ali Zardari of PPP and others in Park Lane and Thatta water supply scheme references.Lashing out at the government for continuous appearances of Zardari in the accountability court, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the regime’s response to their APC has come in the shape of increase in the frequency of court appearances by the former president.Accusing the government of using the law to silence the protests by the united opposition front, the opposition parties are planning to launch a mass campaign, comprising public gatherings, political rallies, no-confidence motions, en masse resignations from Assemblies and a long march in January that would culminate in a sit-in in capital Islamabad.



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