Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has told BBC HARDtalk that the military is terrified of an election later this year. He claimed Pakistan was under “undeclared martial law” and that “fascists” were driving the country into the “dark ages.”
Mr. Khan was elected in 2018, reigned for just under four years, and was deposed in a no-confidence vote last year. Only free and fair elections, he claimed, could restore stability.
HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur questioned the former Prime Minister on whether his current critique of military “meddling” in politics arose solely because his relationship with the military had soured.
Mr. Khan vehemently rejected this, claiming that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is “the only party that military dictators did not create.” He claims that is why there has been a drive to demolish it.
Many detractors claim that Mr. Khan had the army’s support during his rise to power, which both sides deny. For most of its existence, the military has exerted significant influence in Pakistan and is an important behind-the-scenes participant in the country’s politics.
The PTI has suffered massive defections and arrests of important members in recent months. Mr. Khan, on the other hand, says it is complete.
“How come, despite the establishment openly opposing us and attempting to demolish us, we won 30 out of 37 by-elections after we left government?”
He claimed that the establishment hoped his removal from office would damage his party. “It usually happens after you’ve been without electricity for a long time. “What happened instead was that the party’s popularity grew,” Mr Khan explained.
“They tried everything.” They have imprisoned 10,000 people, including women and peaceful protesters.”
Since the former Pakistan cricket captain launched his party 27 years ago, Mr. Khan’s supporters have regarded him as a political outsider.
He claims he is facing around 200 counts, including sedition, terrorism, aiding and abetting murder, and that he has been commuting between his heavily guarded residence and the courts.
Mr. Khan’s arrest in May provoked widespread riots, with at least eight people killed.
His arrest inside a courtroom in May provoked worldwide protests, some of which were violent.
When HARDTalk asked if he had created an attitude of hostility against the military that resulted in violence, the former international cricket star-turned-politician replied he and his party had never promoted violence and had a track record of nonviolent protest.
He stated that they had no involvement in the attacks on military buildings and that those cases should be examined independently.
Mr. Khan argued that the military’s sending troops rather than police officers to arrest him sparked the uprising.
“What did you expect the supporters to do when they saw the army, the commander, coming to pick me up from there?” “Wasn’t there going to be a protest?”
Mr. Khan told the BBC from Lahore: “The fact is that the country is on the verge of a major disaster.” We’re approaching the “dark ages,” in my opinion.
“Free and fair elections are the only solution for Pakistan.” That is the only way we can get out of this mess.”
He raised the alarm about proposed new legislation, which he claimed would grant intelligence services enormous dictatorial power.
Mr. Khan has become an outspoken critic of the current leadership since his ouster.
“Unfortunately, fascists have taken over the country and are terrified of elections.” I’m suffering because they know we’ll win hands down in the elections. And as a result, they are undermining democracy,” he warned.
About Pakistan’s Imran Khan
Imran Khan is a prominent Pakistani politician, former cricketer, and philanthropist. He was born on October 5, 1952, in Lahore, Pakistan. Khan gained international fame as a cricketer and served as the captain of the Pakistan national cricket team, leading them to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
After retiring from cricket, Imran Khan entered politics and founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in 1996. The PTI is a centrist political party that advocates for anti-corruption measures, social justice, and economic reforms. Khan’s party gained popularity among the youth and urban middle-class citizens in Pakistan.
Throughout the years, Imran Khan campaigned for transparency in governance and presented himself as an agent of change. He ran for the Prime Minister’s position multiple times before finally winning the general elections in July 2018. On August 18, 2018, Imran Khan was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Imran Khan faced various challenges, including an economic crisis, political opposition, and regional issues. He emphasized the need for economic reforms, anti-corruption initiatives, and efforts to improve education and healthcare in Pakistan. Khan also played a role in mediating between conflicting parties in the region, such as Afghanistan and India.