Military Establishment Wants To Kill Me: Imran Khan

Claims that a vote of no confidence was 'engineered' against his regime and the military establishment cobbled together a government which operates "under direct guidance" of COAS

Military Establishment Wants To Kill Me: Imran Khan

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan has reiterated that the military establishment was keen on getting rid of him, permanently, but he was not afraid to die.

Imran Khan has managed to "pen" another opinion piece from his Adiala Jail cell, this time for the British publication The Telegraph, stating that since removing him from power in April 2022, the military establishment, which he accused was directly controlling the government, had tried "every tactic to decimate" his party's presence in Pakistan's politics, but has instead pushed Pakistan towards a "dangerous crossroads".

He maintained that all tactics employed by the military establishment and the 'puppet' government to keep him and his party away from mainstream politics had failed thus far. 

"The oppression, torture and denial of our election symbol have been extensively documented, but nothing has worked for the military and the powerless civilian leadership acting as its puppets," read the article, which listed Imran Khan as the author. 

"Pakistan's general elections on February 8 2024, showed the utter failure of their design."

He claimed that a vast majority of voters came out to overwhelmingly vote for his party's candidates even though his party was denied a single electoral symbol (and thus tacitly the right to contest the elections as a singular party) in the elections.

Terming it as 'democratic revenge' (borrowing the term from his political rival, President Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party), Imran said that the public sought to defeat the agenda of the military establishment in an act of national defiance but also a "rejection of the official state narrative of May 9, 2023."

It is pertinent to note that Imran's piece comes days before the first anniversary of May 9, 2023, when Imran was briefly arrested by the paramilitary Rangers from the premises of the Islamabad High Court in Islamabad, sparking widespread outrage and protests, culminating in violence where several state and military installations across the country were targetted and sparked a nationwide crackdown against the PTI.

Imran claimed that PTI supporters were falsely accused of being involved in violent incidents of May 9, 2023, when several military installations were directly attacked by PTI supporters. 

"Instead of accepting the people's mandate, the military establishment went into a fit of rage and electoral results were manipulated to bring into power the losers," Imran claimed.

He added that the vote tampering seen during the February 8, 2024, general elections was seen again during the recent by-elections.

Imran warned that the military establishment and the government's actions have brought the country to a "dangerous crossroads."

"The people have shown in no uncertain terms their rejection of state electoral machinations and of the oppression, incarceration and torture of not just the PTI leadership but also of its workers," he said.

"The military leadership has been subjected to overt criticism at a level unseen before in our history. The government is a laughing stock."

Imran claimed that the state's response to the public anger has been to further oppress and use violence against party workers, journalists and human rights defenders. 

He said, "Social media restrictions have been put in place, with a complete ban on the 'X' (formerly Twitter) platform."

However, Imran claimed that a "systematic attempt" had been made to destroy the independent functioning of the judiciary at all levels. 

"Judges have been subjected to all manner of pressures, including blackmail and harassment of family members. As a result, our trials on false charges are conducted with no proper defence allowed and no concern for the law of the land and the constitution," he claimed, accusing the chief justice of Pakistan and the chief justice of Islamabad High Court of falling "short of delivering unbiased justice".

"Six brave judges of the Islamabad High Court have written a letter to the CJP highlighting instances of harassment and blackmail, including of their families, by intelligence agencies. Specific instances are cited and details given," he said, referring to the letter by the judges over which the Supreme Court has since taken a suo moto notice.

Imran claimed that the letter was unprecedented in Pakistani history, as no one had previously uncovered what many informally knew was happening.

"The sorry state of judicial affairs is reflected in the hesitancy shown by the CJP, who eventually felt compelled to act but instead of calling for a full bench hearing of the supreme court and summoning those named by the six judges, he has sought to put the six judges effectively in the dock," Imran said.

He claimed that the state stands isolated as it struggles to tame spiralling inflation and a nosediving economy. 

"Unwilling to mitigate its grave errors, which have led Pakistan to this precarious juncture and unable to go beyond its mantra of oppression and violence against critics, the State is treading the same path it trod in 1971, when it lost East Pakistan, now Bangladesh," Imran said. Even though he tacitly compared himself to Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rehman — who clearly campaigned for the rights of East Pakistan before working for an independent Bangladesh, it was not clear what another split of Pakistan would look like given Imran's decision to draw a comparison.

Imran went on to point towards an upsurge in terrorism in the country and growing alienation in Balochistan.

He added that India has already admitted to conducting an assassination campaign inside Pakistan while the border with Afghanistan remains volatile.

Imran also reiterated his claim that the military establishment was keen to grant the US access to bases inside Pakistan. The foreign office refuted this claim again this week.

"The military establishment's expectation of unquestioning support from the US, in return for the provision of access to airspace and related facilities to the US for military purposes, has been punctured after the publication of the latest US State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices which highlights the many human rights violations in Pakistan."

The former prime minister warned that seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in such circumstances, where there is an alleged "confrontation with the people", would "not result in any stability for Pakistan".

He concluded by reiterating his rhetoric that the military establishment has "done all they could against me".

"All that is left for them is to now murder me," he claimed, adding," I have stated publicly that if anything happens to me or my wife, Gen Asim Munir will be responsible."

He concluded by saying that he was not afraid of death and that he would instead prefer it over slavery. He mentioned nothing about whether continued incarceration would be unacceptable.