Pakistani opposition group to hold rally

A Pakistani opposition party will host a mega mass rally today, in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions. The Pakistan Democratic Movement

Pakistani rally

Photo: Arif Ali/ AFP/ Getty

A Pakistani opposition party will host a mega mass rally today, in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is a coalition of 11 political parties that banded together against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. The major opposition parties ostensibly united under PDM to prevent military intervention in elections and government. To drum up support for opposition candidates in Senate elections across the country, PDM organised large-scale opposition rallies. Earlier this week, however, Khan announced a ban on rallies and gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For the PDM, the Senate is the last institution that is free of military influence. They alleged that the 2018 election, which Khan won, was rigged by the military. The army has helped the Khan government roll back the 18th amendment, which reduced the army’s political influence, bring corruption charges against key opposition leaders and prevent the opposition from passing legislation.

Unofficial election results of 23 constituencies project the PTI to win a legislative majority. A PDM loss likely spells a real threat to Pakistani democracy. Even if PDM continues to rally and raise support, the army is expected to respond with increased repressive techniques, making it likely that violence will continue in Pakistan in the short-term.

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