The so-called “Black Day” protests, a year after Khan’s PTI party swept to power following a bitterly contested election, come amid mounting economic problems for Pakistan and a political climate that has grown increasingly angry.
Surging prices of fuel and everyday staples, a plunging currency that has lost a quarter of its value since the election and allegations of media censorship and stifling opposition voices has fueled the protests.
In Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, thousands of supporters of the PPP, Pakistan’s other main opposition party, gathered to hear party leader Bilawal Bhutto, son of the murdered former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Banners reading “PTI brought price hikes, PTI brought joblessness, PTI brought economic terrorism” hung over the main stage. There were similar protests in other cities including Lahore and Peshawar.
In Lahore, protesters briefly scuffled with police while on their way to an opposition rally.
The leader of the other main opposition party, Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which was ousted from power last year, told the crowd that Imran Khan’s government would face accountability soon.
(Production: Waseem Sattar, Naeem Abbas, Shahabuddin Shahab)