Pakistan opposition leader arrested after protest vow | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:57 AM, September 29, 2020

Pakistan opposition leader arrested after protest vow

The arrest of Shahbaz comes after his brother Nawaz attacked military for derailing democracy

Pakistani anti-corruption officials arrested the country's opposition leader yesterday, days after he vowed to help lead efforts to dislodge Prime Minister Imran Khan's government. 

Shahbaz Sharif -- who heads the opposition in the country's National Assembly -- was arrested in Lahore after the eastern city's high court rejected a bail plea in a money-laundering case.

"We are not scared of these arrests," said Marriyum Aurangzeb, spokeswoman for Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).

Sharif is the brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted over corruption allegations in 2017 and is currently residing in Britain after being released from prison earlier this year for medical treatment.

On September 20, Pakistan's political opposition held a conference to form the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a new alliance aimed at bringing down the government.

At the conference, Nawaz Sharif broke his two-year silence and delivered a strongly worded speech that took aim at the country's powerful military, which has directly ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its 73-year history and is accused of rigging the 2018 elections to bring Khan to power.

Nawaz, terming the military as "a state above the state', accused it of being "the root-cause of our problems."

Khan's administration has been pushing for Nawaz's return to the country to continue his prison sentence.

Pressure has been simmering against Khan's government in recent months with the country's economy battered by fiscal deficits, soaring inflation and a string of currency devaluations.

Khan was elected in 2018 on promises to rein in corruption and build a welfare state. But since taking power, the former cricketer has struggled to deliver on his campaign vows amid economic headwinds. 

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