Anti-inflation protests organized by the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will take place today in Karachi amidst economic turmoil.
Anti-government demonstrations have regularly occurred since 2019. The PDM, a coalition of right and left-leaning establishment parties opposing the government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, will continue demonstrations in Quetta on November 17 and Peshawar on November 20. They argue that the government failed to give sufficient explanations for raising the prices of electricity, gas, petrol, flour and sugar. Further, they contend that the government’s goal of securing the remaining $4 billion from a $6 billion IMF loan will result in higher prices due to various required loan conditions.
Inflation is expected to remain high over the next six months, so protests will likely escalate through the end of the year and into 2022. This week, Imran Khan ended the ban of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a far-right political party barred for organizing violent protests. With the combination of the government’s capitulation to the far-right, consistent protests from significant opposition parties and the government’s weeks-long squabble with the military over the appointment of the director-general of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Imran-Khan government should expect a year of growing domestic political challenges.
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Alan is an analyst with the Current Developments team, focusing on security and politics, particularly within the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Africa. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief.