Transfer of Pakistan’s political rivalry to Greece – Imran Khan fans to mobilise in Omonia

Pakistanis in Athens Greece

On April 17, the Pakistanis of the PTI Greece will gather in Kotzia Square and then head to Omonia to protest against the overthrow of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to a social media user cited by Directus, “only if American flags are burned would there be a reaction from the state.”

“The Pakistanis are transferring to Greece their country’s political rivalry with the blessings of politicians,” the tweet added.

Pakistan’s new leader Shehbaz Sharif called for “unity” and vowed to repair the country’s damaged economy after he was sworn in as Prime Minister Monday following the ouster of Imran Khan.

Former opposition leader Sharif, 70, is set to serve as Prime Minister until the next general election, expected in 2023.

He was elected by Pakistan’s parliament after former cricket star Khan was dismissed as Prime Minister in a no-confidence vote that had threatened to set off a constitutional crisis. For weeks Sharif had been leading a campaign to remove Khan over allegations of poor governance and economic mismanagement.

Sharif’s rise has been mired in political conflict, and critics say he now faces the daunting task of reviving a flailing economy and maintaining important relations with key countries against the backdrop of widespread protests in favor of Khan.

“It has been a historic (few weeks), with our young and fragile democracy being tested to its very limit,” said Hassan Kamal Wattoo, a lawyer and columnist based in the capital, Islamabad. “What we can only hope is at the end of this constitutional crisis, our democracy is left shaken but standing.”

Sharif’s family was embroiled in scandal in 2018 when his elder brother was sentenced to 10 years in prison and handed a $10.5 million fine for corruption.

Nawaz Sharif denied the charges, but was barred by Pakistan’s highest court from holding political office. Shehbaz Sharif took over from his elder brother as leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PMLN) party, but faces unresolved corruption charges, which he denies.

For much of Khan’s term, Sharif led a campaign to remove him as prime minister. In recent months, it escalated, with Sharif and the opposition accusing Khan of economic mismanagement and urging him to resign.

In a dramatic series of events, the deputy speaker in parliament blocked the no-confidence vote against Khan, who then dissolved parliament and called for early elections. The opposition challenged Khan’s moves in Pakistan’s highest court, with Sharif calling them “nothing short of high treason.”

The court ruled last week that the blocking of the no-confidence vote against Khan was unconstitutional, paving the way for re-run of the vote and for Sharif to become Prime Minister.

Sharif now inherits an ailing economy, with inflation in the double digits. The cost of basic necessities such as food and fuel are skyrocketing, and the government’s foreign exchange reserves are fast depleting.

A poll released in January by Gallup Pakistan found 64% of respondents felt inflation was the biggest problem for the country.

Meleeha Lodhi, former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Britain and the United Nations, said reviving the economy will be Sharif’s “biggest challenge and top priority.”

“There is pressure on the rupee which has been rapidly falling against the dollar and business confidence has plunged,” she said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed in 2019 to provide Pakistan with a $6 billion bailout, but since then the program has experienced setbacks.

Lodhi said resuming the IMF program should be Sharif’s “main focus.”

“Pakistan urgently needs the funds,” she said.

Shortly after being sworn in, Sharif vowed to repair the economy.

“The economic challenges are huge and we need to make a way out of these troubles. We will have to shed sweat and blood to revive the economy,” he said.

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