Originally scheduled for yesterday’s annual celebration of Pakistan’s Republic Day, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will begin its anti-government march from Lahore today. The opposition will trek through the country and are scheduled to reach Islamabad on March 27.
Last month, a similar march of protest was conducted by the PDM in response to the ruling Pakistan Tareek-a-Insaf (PTI) party and their price hike policies. Today’s convoy is focused more on equalizing Pakistan’s political environment in the leadup to the 2023 general election. Prime Minister Imran Khan—the PTI leader—and his poorly received economic policies are at the center of a Pakistani political divide between the government in control and the collection of parties within the PDM. Administrative turmoil, exorbitant living costs, and double-digit inflation alongside a growing no-confidence standoff shifting Imran Khan’s grasp seem to be bolstering PDM energies.
Expect the PDM protesters to disengage Khan’s political influence in the lead up to the next general election. With Pakistan’s macroeconomic situation in poor shape, expect politically charged protests to continue throughout the nation for the short to medium-term. Additionally, anticipate frequently occurring marches that aim to increase pressure on Imran Khan’s administration in favor of a no-confidence motion.
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Joseph is a Current Developments Analyst with regional expertise in Northeast Asia. He focuses primarily on South Korean-Japanese geopolitics.