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Former Pakistani PM accuses army of trying to destroy his party | Political news

Former Pakistani PM accuses army of trying to destroy his party |  Political news


Pakistan’s beleaguered former prime minister Imran Khan has accused the powerful military and its intelligence agency of openly trying to destroy his political party, saying he has no doubt he will be tried by a military court and thrown in jail .

Khan has previously hinted at the hand of the military in a crackdown on his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, but his comments in an interview at his Lahore home on Saturday night were the most direct yet.

It’s completely the establishment, the former cricketing hero told Reuters news agency when asked who was behind the crackdown. The establishment obviously means the military establishment, because they’re really open now, I mean, it’s not even hidden now that they’re just out in the open.

An army spokesman who has ruled the country directly or indirectly for its 75-year history and who has rarely faced the kind of public challenge to his power that he has from Khan did not respond to a request for comment.

A deadly year-long standoff between Khan, Pakistan’s most popular leader according to polls, and the military came to a head when buildings and military assets were ransacked last month, allegedly by his supporters.

Political unrest has heightened uncertainty in the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people, which is also plagued by financial turmoil. Its $350 billion economy is struggling to avoid defaults, control record inflation and cope with a plummeting currency.

Khan described the violent protests, which erupted after his brief arrest, a false flag operation intended to target him.

Authorities have begun the process of trying dozens of people, including members of the Khans party, suspected of taking part in the protests before a military court usually reserved for military personnel or those labeled as enemies of the state.

That’s the only way they’re going to put me in jail,” Khan said, adding that the military wanted to prevent him from returning to power in elections scheduled for November.

He said around 150 criminal cases filed against him were frivolous and would be dismissed in any civil court.

So their only hope, and because they’re determined to get me out of the way, I think they will, their whole charade of military tribunals is to jail me, he said. I have absolutely no doubt that military courts are for me,” added Khan, who is out on bail.

Amnesty International says Pakistani military courts have shown disregard for due process, lack of transparency, forced confessions and executions after unfair trials.

spy agency

Khan said the country’s most powerful spy agency, the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was deeply involved in the crackdown.

He said two senior officials from his party had been summoned by the agency for talks. And when they went there they just shut them up and said you [wont] leave unless you opt out of being part of PTI.

Khan said he tried to contact the military for talks to find a way out of the current crisis, but got no response, and he didn’t know why the army chief army, General Asim Munir, was determined to put him aside.

Before becoming army chief in November 2022, Munir served as head of the ISI, a position from which he was abruptly removed in 2019 when Khan was prime minister.

Khan himself was ousted from office in a parliamentary vote last year which he says was orchestrated by top Pakistani generals. The army denies this.

enemy of the state

No official reason was given for Munirs’ removal, but Khan acknowledged in the interview, for the first time, that he had wanted him out of the role.

I think he may have a grudge because I asked him to step down as ISI chief, Khan said. I don’t know.

Asked why he asked Munir to resign, Khan replied: You know, as prime minister, I felt that the way the intelligence agency was run was a problem for me. He did not specify.

Munir was then selected as the country’s chief general by Khan’s successor and political rival, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He shouldn’t have any problems with that now because he’s the army chief, Khan said, referring to the removal of Munirs as head of the ISI. So why would he hold this grudge?

Khan said he was intrigued by the campaign against him.

[I am] someone who’s been famous in this country for 50 years, who’s probably won every award in this country and probably the most well-known Pakistani, and who’s suddenly being treated like some kind of outsider, like an enemy of the state .




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