Pakistani opposition parties have demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan's immediate resignation and pledged to launch a nationwide protest movement aimed at unseating his government.
"We demand Prime Minister Imran Khan ... resign immediately," hard-line politician Maulana Fazal-ur Rehman told a press conference following a one-day multiparty meeting in Islamabad on September 20.
Rehman's Sunni Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) party belongs to the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition parties planning a wave of rallies and protests beginning early next month.
Opposition lawmakers have also threatened to resign to force fresh elections. They are protesting the role of Pakistan's powerful army in the country's politics.
"We demand that the establishment should not have any role in politics," said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, head of the center-left Pakistan Peoples Party.
Earlier, addressing the conference via video link from London, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif claimed the military had ushered in Khan's government by way of rigged elections. "Our struggle is against those who installed Imran Khan and who manipulated elections to bring an incapable man like him into power and thus, destroyed the country," Sharif said, breaking a year-long silence.
Sharif had been serving a jail term on corruption charges but the 70-year-old was granted bail on medical grounds and traveled to Britain for emergency treatment last November.
Sharif did not complete a single one of his three terms as prime minister and was repeatedly removed from power following tussles with the powerful generals who typically have the final say on the country's leadership.