Pakistan is a democratic country

All together against Imran Khan

As a woman in the conservative-patriarchal country of Pakistan, how did you manage to get actively involved in politics?
Neither my family nor I had anything to do with politics. At first I wasn't interested in politics at all. However, during my studies in 2012 I decided to work for our party, PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League N) and Maryam Nawaz (Vice President PML-N). The many conversations with Ms. Nawaz and her experiences in Pakistani politics have moved me to abandon my previous aversion and to become much more involved in politics. Since we have had Ms. Nawaz in a leading position, more and more women have stood up and are actively involved in politics. Of course, not everyone likes that.

The leader of your PML-N party is former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The current government of Imran Khan accuses him of corruption. That is why he is in exile in England and does not want to come back. What is your position on that?
Our party chairman Nawaz Sharif has so far only been made baseless accusations. The people behind it have never provided any reliable evidence to date. Even the public prosecutor's office is unable to prove to the long-time politician Sharif that he was corrupt or that he evaded funds. It is a working - but very questionable - method for the current Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan, to discredit a deserving person by accusing him of harming his own people and country.

You have reached an agreement with ten other opposition parties and launched a new Democratic Movement Pakistan (PDM). What is the PDM going to do against the current government of Prime Minister Khan and his government?
Imran Khan has been Prime Minister of this huge country since 2018. If you take to the streets now and question the population, you will quickly get the impression that an overwhelming majority of the people are dissatisfied with the current government. Khan seems to have gambled away all sympathies since 2018. All opposition parties have given him enough time to do something sustainable for the country.

Action is needed: Health care is inadequate, the prices for basic food or energy are rising incessantly. People can no longer pay the increased costs. That is why they take to the streets together and demonstrate against a steadily deteriorating situation. We eleven opposition parties don't take to the streets for our own interests, but for the interests of all people. And people with a wide range of interests have joined forces with us from the PML-N and ten other parties to form the PDM. Our goal: We will unite to take to the streets together against the government of Khan. The fact that more and more women are also actively involved in politics is just another aspect. Together we opposition parties decided at a conference to join forces. According to the motto: "Together we are stronger!" Because the people in the country can no longer understand how they have been treated since Khan took over the government. That is why there are now these all-party actions and opposition leaders with whom we are taking to the streets together.

They have started organizing demonstrations in various large cities. You have already demonstrated in three metropolitan areas in Pakistan with great public participation. And they are apparently getting more and more. Where should the movement lead to?
So far we have called for rallies in Gujranwala, Karachi, and Quetta. Unexpectedly, hundreds of thousands of people followed our appeals. That scares the current government and you can see that in the government's hectic measures. So after the rally in Karachi, I came to my hotel late at night to spend the night. The next morning at five o'clock the husband was arrested in his hotel room by our Vice President Maryam Nawaz (who led the demonstration, the editor). The arrest is a clear signal that Imran Khan has become fearful. Fear of a majority of the population that he no longer knows is on his side.

But it was also a clear signal to him that he can no longer continue as before. Therefore, he is now arresting opposition politicians for no reason. Just because they made use of their right to freedom of expression. The government's actionism is grotesque: in Quetta they have turned off all television lines so that this demonstration can no longer be reported. They had the radio masts in the area switched off so that the participants couldn't make phone calls and could not mobilize other people. Even in the hotels in the area the internet connection was interrupted. Fearing that people would follow the increasingly powerful voice of the opposition parties.

What is your opinion as a young but increasingly well-known politician that the Pakistani military interferes in politics?
As a young politician, I have nothing to say about that. The Pakistani constitution says that the military has no place in politics.

The state has done a lot against Corona. That is why Pakistan was not hit as badly as India or Brazil. You can give the current Prime Minister at least one positive praise for having the coronavirus under control, right?
I don't think the government actually has Corona successfully under control. I myself suffered from Corona and I am still struggling with the consequences. The state does not provide any support for those affected or ill. There are rules that have been established by international organizations. Pakistan adhered to this. But the state did nothing to fight Corona. But the population has adhered to the corona rules.

Mr. Khan has been in power since 2018. Didn't it bring a single positive aspect?
All I can say is that, in the opinion of large sections of the people, the government under Prime Minister Khan has done no positive work or achievement for the starving people. Even the previously existing subsidies and social benefits have been stopped. Look at his election promise: Imran Khan promised in his election campaign that he would build 50,000 houses for the poor and homeless. Not one has been finished yet. He broke his campaign promises. Khan and his ruling party have promised new jobs ahead of the election. They didn't keep that either. The people can no longer pay their electricity bills, gasoline, gas, bread and even the simplest basic needs. These are elementary prerequisites for living as a family in Pakistan. The current state cannot even do that.

What is the wish of all opposition parties towards their current prime minister?
We want Mr. Khan to pack his things and go back home. And we want him to sign his resignation immediately.

nd journalism from the left thrives on the commitment of its readers

In view of the experience of the corona pandemic, we have decided to make our journalism permanently freely accessible on our website and thus make it available to everyone who is interested.

As with our print and epaper editions, our work as an author, editor, technician or publishing employee is part of every published article. It is what makes this journalism possible.

Volunteer now with just a few clicks!