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Pakistan’s major opposition parties on Sunday demanded an end to interference by the country’s military leaders in politics, with former premier Nawaz Sharif saying the army has gone from a ‘state within a state’ to a ‘state above the state’.Pakistan’s major opposition parties on Sunday demanded an end to interference by the country’s military leaders in politics, with former premier Nawaz Sharif saying the army has gone from a ‘state within a state’ to a ‘state above the state’.

illegitimate government to power,” said Sharif. While political leaders were consistently victimised in the name of accountability, army dictators got away despite subverting the Constitution and committing all sorts of crimes, he added.

In contrast, he said, there were no accountability proceedings against army generals and gave the example of Asim Saleem Bajwa, a retired general and now head of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, whose undeclared holdings were exposed by the media but no action was taken.

“We want elected leaders to run the affairs of the country, to manage the economy and to decide on the foreign policy.” said Sharif.

The former PM said that under the Imran Khan government, Pakistan has become internationally isolated. “The Indian government took advantage of the weak and incompetent government to swallow Kashmir,” he alleged, adding, “even Pakistan’s friends did not stand by it when it protested.”

Sharif asked whose agenda foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was working on when he attacked Saudi Arabia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. He was referring to the minister’s comments attacking the Saudi leadership of OIC over what he called its ‘dilly-dallying’ on the Kashmir issue, which led to souring of relations with Riyadh.

“When we pointed out that our friendly countries were warning us about our involvement in external issues which was being done at the behest of the military, we were attacked and it was turned into a scandal,” Sharif noted. Now, Pakistan has to deal with the shame of trying to meet targets set by platforms like the FATF, he said, referring to Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog on money laundering and terror financing.