Nawaz Sharif calls Pakistan Army a 'state above state', opposition comes together against military

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Sep 20, 2020, 07.07 PM(IST)

File photo of Nawaz Sharif. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Before Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari also addressed the conference through a video-link and criticised the government which he said was using the tactics to suppress the Opposition.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said that Pakistani Army's role had gone from being 'state within a state' to 'state above a state'. He was addressing a conference of opposition parties in Pakistan. All major parties within the opposition were in attendance for the conference. The conference was organised by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

Nawaz Sharif is currently in the UK. He addressed the conference via a video link. Sharif was given permission to leave Pakistan for four weeks by a court. But he extended his stay outside the country for medical reasons.

Addressing the conference, Sharif criticised the country's powerful establishment for allegedly supporting Khan.

"Our struggle is not against Imran Khan. Today, our struggle is against those who installed Imran Khan and who manipulated elections (of 2018) to bring an inefficient man like him into power and thus destroyed the country," he said.

Sharif said that the foremost priority should be to remove "this selected government and this system", adding that "if the change is not brought, it will bring irreversible loss to this country.?

He asked the powerful Army to stay away from politics and follow the Constitution and vision of the country's father 'Quaid-e-Azam' Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

"It is very important that our armed forces stay away from our governmental system according to our Constitution and the Quaid's speech, and not interfere with the people's choice. We have made this country a joke in our own eyes and internationally as well," he said.

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Sharif pointed out that former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani once said that there was "a state within a state" in Pakistan.

"It is saddening that the situation has escalated to a state above the state. This parallel government illness is the root-cause of our problems," he said.

Before Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari also addressed the conference through a video-link and criticised the government which he said was using the tactics to suppress the Opposition.

 

"It is important that all parties join hands to get rid of this government," he said.

PPP chairman Bilawal is hosting and presiding over the conference with several opposition parties attending it to chalk out a course of action to launch protests against the government.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018.

Sharif, who was deposed in 2017, was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But, he was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment.

(With PTI inputs)

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