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News & Analysis

Army’s War On Imran Khan And His Supporters

Zia Sarhadi

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Since his illegal ouster from power in April 2022, former prime minister Imran Khan and his supporters have faced a relentless campaign of terror unleashed by the Pakistan army. Despite the terror tactics, the army has not been able to dent Imran Khan’s support base among the masses. Instead, it has grown exponentially.

There are now grave fears that the army will try to physically eliminate Imran Khan through a fake trial. The stage has been set for such an eventuality. On December 13, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that civilians can be tried in military courts. This outrageous verdict has opened the door for the military to further abuse civilians, especially Imran Khan and members of his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-i Insaf (PTI).

Most of the top leadership and tens of thousands of party workers and supporters have been thrown in jail. Few if any charges have been laid because they have done nothing wrong yet they are being terrorized and tortured. Even women are not spared.

Imran Khan and his deputy Shah Mehmood Qureshi are facing the ludicrous charge of exposing “state secrets” because they had talked about the “cipher” that Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington DC, Dr Asad Majeed Khan had sent to the foreign office. This followed his March 7, 2022 meeting with a third-ranking state department official, Donald Lu. The American official had told ambassador Khan that if Imran Khan were removed from office, the US would ‘forgive’ Pakistan.

The ambassador promptly notified the foreign office of Lu’s demand. The matter was so serious that it was raised in the cabinet. The message, however, was meant for the army chief, at the time Qamar Javed Bajwa. As an American slave, Bajwa carried out the plot and removed a democratically elected prime minister from office through an engineered vote in parliament.

In addition to Bajwa, the coup plotters included the intelligence chief Nadeem Anjum and the judiciary as well as politicians who are prepared to sell their mothers for a fistful of dollars. The generals are also in this league, as we learned from Wikileaks in 2010.

Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi are accused of “exposing” state secrets by talking about the cipher but the army chief who acted on this diabolical plot roams free. He has since retired but the new chief, General Asim Munir, is even more despicable. In an interesting expose on December 18, the American social media platform, The Intercept, quoting Pakistani intelligence sources, said that Pakistan’s security code was not compromised. So, why are Khan and his deputy being hauled before kangaroo courts? It is all part of their political victimization.

Since Imran Khan’s ouster on April 9, 2022, Pakistan’s economy has virtually collapsed. Prices as well as poverty have skyrocketed. The country is in a tail spin. Social and political tensions have risen and the security situation has deteriorated, primarily because the army is busy targeting the PTI instead of concentrating on security matters.

Why did the Americans want Imran Khan removed from office? He was showing too much independence and not following US orders as all previous Pakistani rulers had done. Second, they accused him of being ‘aggressively neutral’ in the Ukraine conflict. Imran Khan had flown to Moscow on February 23, 2022 to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The following day, Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine while Imran Khan was meeting Putin. During discussions, Putin agreed to supply oil to Pakistan at discounted prices.

The Americans were upset because Imran Khan did not cancel his meeting with Putin. There was no reason to do so. It had been prepared over several months and it was an opportunity to improve relations with Russia, a nearby neighbour. But there was also something else to the American angst. In October 2021, when asked by a reporter whether he would agree to provide military bases to the US for carrying out drone strikes in Afghanistan, Khan had shot back: “absolutely not.”

The arrogant Americans are not used to hearing such talk. They demanded Imran Khan’s ouster which was carried out by the ever-pliant and subservient Pakistan army chief and a handful of generals around him.

Pakistan’s problems are two-fold: a mindset of total subservience to the US, and the army’s involvement in every facet of life in the country. It not only dictates defence policy but is also involved in economic decision-making and foreign relations. It also insists on determining who should rule the country, dismissing the people’s right to choose their leaders in free and fair elections.

The army wants to re-instal the discredited former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the fourth time. His previous three stints were disastrous. He is also a mega thief but since Sharif has made a deal with the army chief, he is being facilitated.

Courts are being used to whitewash Sharif’s crimes. His party, the Pakistan Muslim League (N), however, has failed to gain any traction. Imran Khan and his party, the PTI remain extremely popular with the masses.

Elections are scheduled for February 8, 2024 but various hurdles are being placed to prevent the PTI from contesting them. PTI candidates were prevented from filing nomination papers. Its election symbol, the Bat, was taken away by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the middle of the night. PTI appealed against the decision in the Peshawar High Court where Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel set aside the ECP ruling. The matter will now be heard by a two-member bench of the same court.

The Election Commission of Pakistan as well as most judges take their orders from the army. While it has failed to perform its primary function—providing security and protecting the country’s borders—the army dabbles in everything else, with the same disastrous consequences.

Having appointed himself the country’s economic czar, Asim Munir has been making the rounds of world capitals begging for dollars to keep the economy afloat. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided $900 million as a standby agreement in October 2022 (before he became the army chief) after imposing stiff conditions. Pakistan has failed to meet these conditions and the next installment is in doubt.

General Munir visited Washington DC for a week last month but despite meeting various officials, nothing substantial in terms of money came through. He tried to present himself as Pakistan's economic czar but the Americans were not impressed.

The army’s most serious crime, however, is the plot to physically eliminate Imran Khan. Two attempts have already been made on his life that he miraculously survived. Now there are plans to carry out his judicial murder.

It is for the people of Pakistan to rise up before this criminal act is carried out. After all, Imran Khan sacrificed his family and comforts—he was living a very comfortable existence in England and was an international celebrity—to serve the people of Pakistan. Now it is for the people to show some gratitude and not let the army get away with this horrendous crime.

There would be little point in crying over it afterward, God forbid, if the army were to succeed in committing this crime.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 11

Jumada' al-Akhirah 19, 14452024-01-01

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