Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister and leader of Pakistan Muslim League (N) gestures during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan May 10, 2018. Picture taken May 10, 2018. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood/File Photo)
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Intensifying allegations of military interference threaten to cast a shadow over Pakistan's general election July 25, a historic event that will mark only the country's second ever democratic transition of power.Friday, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party handed over to a technocratic caretaker administration after completing a full five-year term, another democratic milestone.Four PML-N lawmakers told Reuters they had received threats and pressure to switch allegiance to rival parties, while newspapers are awash with accusations of military "engineering" and journalists and media houses complain of growing censorship.PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court as prime minister in July and now faces corruption charges, events he has described as "pre-poll rigging" aimed at denying his party another term.Pakistan's biggest TV channel, Geo, went off air for several weeks in April and only returned after its executives struck a deal with the military over their coverage of Sharif, two executives told Reuters.Three of the lawmakers are sticking with PML-N but one has defected to PTI.In the last few months at least 15 National Assembly PML-N lawmakers have left the party, mostly to join PTI. The judiciary has denied targeting, or favouring, any political party, and rejects allegations from PML-N of collusion with the military to weaken the party.
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