Pakistan cracks down on opposition leaders amid rising protests

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Mardan, Dec. 31, 2020 The Pakistan government has launched a crackdown on leaders of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and charged many of them for holding a rally in Mardan.

This also comes as the opposition is planning to step up further protests against the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, as reported by The News on Thursday.

Khan faces a serious challenge as the coalition PDM has set a Jan. 31, 2021 deadline for him to step down or face a “Long March” to Islamabad.

The PDM leaders are scheduled to hold important consultations on Friday at the residence of former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in Lahore.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is reportedly arriving in Lahore on Thursday and will have a meeting with PML-N leader, Maryam Nawaz, before the PDM meeting, sources said.

The PDM, an alliance of 11 opposition parties, has been formed against the army’s interference in politics and installing “puppet” Khan through a manipulated election.

The PDM has held massive rallies in major cities to seek Khan’s ouster and press the powerful military to stop interfering in politics.

Geo News reported that the Police registered cases against the opposition leaders, days after the opposition under the banner of PDM staged the rally in Mardan, allegedly without taking permission.

Those charged are PML-N’s Haji Khan Akbar, JUI-F Mardan General-Secretary Maulana Amanat Shah Haqqani, former deputy speaker Ikramullah Shahid and Qaumi Watan Party District Chairperson Mujeebur, among others.

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