Pak Opposition alliance to launch countrywide drive against govt

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ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s party, under the umbrella of a grand opposition alliance, on Saturday announced a countrywide movement against the alleged rigging in the February 8 election and the government established by tampering of the mandate.

The launch of the movement indicates that the dream of post-election peace and political stability will be wilting sooner than expected. The six-party alliance that includes Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, in a late-night meeting that continued till the early hours of Saturday, decided to come together under the banner of Tehreek Tahafuz Ayeen-i-Pakistan (TTAP), a movement to protect the Constitution of Pakistan.

Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai was nominated as president of the alliance at the hours-long meeting, which was presided over by Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal.

Sunni Ittehad Council chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza Khan, Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen Chairman Raja Nasir Abbas and Jamaat-i-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch also attended the meeting.

The new opposition alliance may not pose any immediate threat to the government of PM Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party but the group may unsettle it with a prolonged presence on the streets at a time when the country needs peace to address multiple economic and security challenges.

The opposition has decided to use Balochistan as a launching pad which has been battling a homegrown insurgency led by Baloch nationalists.