Voluminous Dossier On Imran Khan's 'Anti-Pakistan Narratives' Surfaces

Voluminous Dossier On Imran Khan's 'Anti-Pakistan Narratives' Surfaces
A document containing news headlines and website links is circulating online, that attempts to delineate controversial former Pakistani premier Imran Khan's multiplicitous statements and their impact on Pakistan's international image. The hundred-page document dated May 20, 2023 and seen by The Friday Times (TFT), starts with a table of contents that categorizes Khan's media engagements as "anti state policy", "anti institutions", anti-foreign policy, anti-constitution, "anti social fabric" and anti-economy.

The document contains headlines from local and international newspapers where Pakistan is referenced in an unflattering or negative light due to something that Imran Khan had said or done. Many of the headlines and news references pertain to Khan's tenure as prime minister from a disputed election in 2018 to his ouster in a vote of no confidence in April 2022. Some of the headlines referenced in this 'dossier' are from news outlets that are reportedly banned and inaccessible in Pakistan.

The source or author of this document is uncertain as of the filing of this report, and multiple verification methods - including manual verification through a number of well-placed sources - have failed to identify the originator of this compendium.

Halfway through the document, the 'dossier' presents tabulated "evidence" of Imran Khan's and his almost-disintegrated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party's anti-constitution and "anti social fabric" statements to electronic media at home and abroad. The 'dossier' also includes a November 2021 news report on the European Union's concern on human rights violations in Pakistan, titled "a fascist state under Imran Khan".

Analysts see this 'dossier' in the light of attempts by the incumbent government and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) political parties to galvanise themselves in the war of narratives against the inexplicably popular Khan and those of his die-hard supporters who still remain active. Exposing Khan's lies and defeating his narratives are deemed crucial missions for democratic political forces in recovering their political capital and relevance, as Khan and the PTI are now being viewed as "miscreants" if not political terrorists by the miltablishment. Many fear that Pakistan's civil and military leadership appears determined to "teach PTI a lesson" for the damage they caused to state institutions - literally, as well as figuratively to their image and status - on May 9, 2023.

A senior journalist was quick to point out to TFT that this 'dossier' seems reminiscent of similar documents that the PTI government's "digital media wing" used to churn out, and that its lack of pagination or standardized formatting also indicates that it was a "haphazard job, akin to former NSA Moeed Yusuf's dossier on India that was thoroughly ridiculed by global experts for, among other things, not labeling its statistical diagrams properly".

Former premier Khan has come under the most intense pressure of his political life after the May 9 riots shocked the nation and finally jolted the military leadership into action against him and his poisonously divisive 'Haqeeqi Azadi' ("real independence") movement. For nearly a year, the Pakistan Army leadership had been "tolerating" routine attacks by Khan, his fellow party leaders and thousands of his followers on social media.

For one reason or the other, once all-powerful Pakistan army was "quietly" bearing Khan's tirades against the military's overbearing role in national politics, its alleged decision to "remove him from power" and "bring thieves back into government", the "abductions and forced disappearances" of PTI workers and journalists affiliated with the party or promoting Khan's narrative, and even the suspicious murder of investigative journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya, where he had fled to in self-imposed exile. Other progressive dissident forces who called out the military's alleged excesses, such as the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), and those raising their voice for Baloch missing persons, were not treated so leniently by the miltablishment.

Analysts say such 'dossiers' and compilations of Khan's statements and "U-turns" will not do much to dismantle the social media echo chamber that continues to come up with surprising and often disingenuous new ways to defend their heroic leader and his constantly shifting stances. "Those who believe in Khan and promote his narrative, even though his narrative today doesn't match his narrative from a few months ago, these people will continue to justify Khan and his positions no matter what," a senior political analyst told TFT. "Many expatriate Pakistanis still buy into Khan's 'Naya Pakistan' fantasy and are woefully unfamiliar with Khan's track record in government; in fact, they are more comfortable blaming whoever Khan wants to blame for his own bad governance and poor leadership as prime minister".

"After 9th May, it will be the ordinary workers, the ones who actually committed acts of violence and are now in custody, it is they who will finally realize the truth of Khan's platform and his dedication, or otherwise, to the people of Pakistan, especially when they need legal aid, or when they need someone to raise their voice for them," the analyst opined. He continued, adding "it is then that they will realize that the voices supporting PTI, including the ones tirelessly supporting Khan on social media from Pakistan and especially from abroad, they are mostly concerned about the big names, whether they are former ministers like Shireen Mazari and Fawad Chaudhry, or social media influencers like Tayyaba Raja and Khadija Shah, or self-proclaimed journalists like Imran Riaz Khan. These recognizable faces and talking heads are more important to PTI than ordinary workers, who are treated more like cannon fodder than frontline soldiers".