Late last month the Pakistani Supreme Court declared opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz (chief minister of the Punjab Province) ineligible to hold public offices for opposing the 1999 military coup of Pervez Musharraf, sparking a growing series of protests against a government seemingly intent on marginalizing its biggest potential rival.
Now, faced with Sharif’s growing popularity as a rallying point for the disaffected populace of the struggling nation, Interior Minister Rehman Malik warns that the Pakistani Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader is courting prison with his continued speeches. “Inciting people for disobedience is sedition. … It could get life imprisonment and a fine.”
Though Minister Malik insists the government has “no intention” of arresting their former coalition partner at this time, the message is clear: if Sharif continues the protest rallies against the increasingly unpopular government of the Pakistani Peoples Party, he’s going to be silenced – one way or another.