Imran likens current crisis to 1971 debacle

Says erosion of democratic mandate mirrors events of East Pakistan

Our Correspondent April 06, 2024
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan. SCREENGRAB/File


PTI founder and former premier Imran Khan on Saturday likened the prevailing “erosion of democratic mandate” to the tumultuous events in erstwhile East Pakistan.

Drawing parallels to the historical debacle in erstwhile East Pakistan, Imran lamented the purported hijacking of his party's mandate.

The founder of PTI made the remarks during an informal conversation with journalists during the hearing of the Toshakhana (gift repository) reference in Adiala jail.

He claimed that the real value of the jewellery set was Rs18 million and not what was claimed in the reference.

Imran also claimed that when he was arrested, police officials seized his passport and chequebook from his bedroom and alleged that it was an intelligence agency which enlisted an employee of Toshakhana and Inam Shah as witnesses in the reference

Citing the involvement of a part-time salesman in Dubai, Imran alleged that he was the one who estimated the value of the Graff jewellery set that implicated him in the Toshakhana case.

The former PM also expressed his intent to file a case against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman and Inam Shah for their roles in the Toshakhana reference and asserted that the incumbent army chief targeted his wife to undermine him in the reference.

"Fawad Chaudhry held a press conference, yet he was still coerced into becoming a witness. If Pervez Elahi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi hold a press conference today, all their cases will vanish," Imran claimed.

Imran also talked about an alleged assassination plot against him at the judicial complex on March 18, indicating that the complex was overtaken by numerous individuals in plain clothes 24 hours prior to his arrival.

"Why is the CCTV footage of the judicial complex not being brought forward?"

The former premier asserted that the 'London plan' was orchestrated between General Asim and Nawaz Sharif and indicated the involvement of judges in its execution.

"Mujeebur Rahman's majority would have ended Yahya Khan's power," he emphasized that the plan resulted in the "theft" of the country's mandate, drawing parallels to historical events in East Pakistan.

Imran referred to Mujib's election victory as documented in the Hamudur Rahman commission report and alleged that currently there are ongoing attempts to steal the nation's democratic mandate.

"The king is sitting back and Mohsin Naqvi has become the viceroy. Shahbaz Sharif is cutting ribbons but he has no power. The country's economy is sinking."

"On the other hand, judges are saying that the agencies are threatening them and there is lawlessness in the country," Imran added.

Imran asserted that Asif Zardari's accusation regarding a 'political party tarnishing the army's image' contrasted with the PTI's previous high regard for the army.

"We were informed by the ISI and General Bajwa about corruption within the Sharif family, including the acquisition of cars from Toshakhana. Why haven't their case been pursued?"

"The entire nation is aware that Asim Munir is wielding significant control over the country." He recounted prior communications, stating, "Before General Asim Munir's appointment, I conveyed through Arif Alvi that we harboured no animosity towards him. I contacted Asim Munir via Arif Alvi, who assured me of his awareness regarding the 'London plan.' Ali Zaidi also relayed a message, urging neutrality for the country's stability."

"I firmly believe that death is preferable to servitude."

Read Imran predicts 'Sri Lanka-like debacle'

Responding to inquiries about expectations of justice from Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Imran said, "The nation observes closely, and I refrain from commenting. Today, the country has transformed, and people are becoming more aware. We were labelled as traitors, ensnared in the events of May 9. The results of February 8 revealed where the nation stands."

Regarding alleged judicial involvement in the 'London plan,' Imran acknowledged, "Many judges, Mohsin Naqvi, chief election commissioner, and the caretaker government were implicated. Despite our grievances, we didn't resort to confrontation with the army." He added,

"Although General Bajwa's actions felt like a betrayal, we refrained from convening a committee to confront him."

When questioned about Bushra Bibi being 'poisoned', Imran Khan responded, "Until Bushra Bibi undergoes an endoscopy, it's premature to ascertain anything. When something is ingested, mere observation may not reveal the full extent of the situation."

"Rising inflation may spell the demise of the PML-N. The ruling elite, indifferent to domestic affairs, stash their wealth abroad," said the former prime minister and appreciated the integrity shown by the six IHC judges.

He added that the judiciary should uphold the rule of law, as investors are unlikely to commit capital to a nation where judicial authorities are under threat.

When questioned about the restructuring of party committees, Imran clarified, "The committees primarily handle routine political affairs, with the core committee vested with final decision-making authority."


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