“Our kids are dying of hunger and you’re praising Imran Khan and his inflation!” yelled Siraj Khan, 30, a motorbike courier who said he had sunk into debt in recent years. His earnings have dropped by a third, while food prices have risen, and his relatives need him to repay money that he borrowed.
“Sometimes I’ve thought about committing suicide,” he said.
Some of the public’s recent anger has been directed at powerful military leaders who withdrew their support for Mr. Khan last year, paving the way for his ouster and extending the country’s record of no prime minister completing a full five-year term.
Over the past week, hashtags critical of the army have trended on social media platforms. Several officials in Mr. Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, posted angry messages on Twitter against Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army chief, with whom Mr. Khan clashed.
Though he fell out with top brass over disputes about foreign policy and the military’s leadership, Mr. Khan retains substantial support among military ranks. In recent days, many retired military officials, who see Mr. Khan as honest and identify with his anti-American sentiment, have participated in his public rallies.
“I think a vast majority of retired and serving armed forces personnel support Imran Khan’s narrative because they see him as the polar opposite of the traditionally corrupt politicians,” Omar Mahmood Hayat, a retired three-star general, said. “He is himself financially incorruptible.”