PTI faces fresh allegations of establishment links

Published: November 22, 2011
Army, PTI deny meeting; Tehreek-i-Insaf blames it on PML-N’s ‘Imranophobia’.  PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

Army, PTI deny meeting; Tehreek-i-Insaf blames it on PML-N’s ‘Imranophobia’. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s rising popularity continues to be countered with fresh allegations of party chief Imran Khan’s links with the country’s powerful military establishment.

A leading British newspaper claimed on Sunday that Imran recently met US Ambassador Cameron Munter in the presence of ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha – a report strongly denied by the military, as well as the PTI.

Quoting sources, The Sunday Times alleged that Imran was introduced to Munter in Pasha’s presence, adding that the PTI chief is supported by the Pakistani intelligence agency and military. However, a spokesman for the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday that the report was “totally baseless and concocted”.

‘An open secret’

According to the report, Imran is said to have gained the backing of the establishment, which has grown tired of the corruption pervading the two traditional political groupings – the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

“Although they do not publicly admit to favouring any party, it is an open secret that the military leadership, and the powerful ISI, is backing Imran Khan’s campaign,” it said.

The report further stated although Imran is reluctant to criticise the military establishment publicly, he emphasises that he will not be a puppet of the generals. “Obviously you have to work with them but it doesn’t mean you have to work under them,” Imran was quoted as telling The Times.

The report went on to talk about “the perils of upsetting the army,” while referring to the memogate scandal and Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani’s involvement.

Mentioning the PPP’s unpopularity with the military, the newspaper said that “reports that several generals had snubbed a state banquet before tense meetings with Zardari added to speculation that the PPP has fallen from favour with the military”.

PTI blames PML-N for ‘fabricated propaganda’

A senior official confirmed to The Sunday Times that Imran had the support of the army, but said his rise would cause more political damage to “Sharif, the opposition leader and an outspoken military critic, than to the ruling PPP”.

The report also mentioned the PML-N’s allegations of Imran’s links with the establishment by quoting Nawaz Sharif’s claim last week that “hidden hands” were propping Imran Imran up.

However, the PTI, while refuting The Sunday Times report, issued a strong-worded denial on Monday, blaming the PML-N for what it called ‘fabricated propaganda’.

In a statement released from the PTI’s office in Islamabad, the party’s secretary general Dr Arif Alvi said that this news item is “totally fabricated and false”.

“[The report] appears to be an attempt to provide support to the false propaganda unleashed by the PML-N and its coterie that PTI had the support of the establishment,” he stated in the press release.

The statement added that the allegation is an attempt to divert people’s attention from the “fast-declining popularity” of the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) because of the “failure of its government in Punjab and its anti-people policies”.

“Its failed rallies in Lahore and Faisalabad had driven it to desperation and it is venting its venom on PTI,” he said, adding that the PML-N leadership has become “Imranophobic”.

Alvi reiterated that they were sending a strong letter to The Sunday Times to retract the falsehood, “otherwise we reserve the right to claim damages in a court of law”.

‘Public frustration cause of Imran’s popularity’

The Sunday Times also suggested in its report that the PTI chief’s popularity can be attributed to the public’s frustration and went on to quote Imran: “In recent years, never have the people of Pakistan faced such corruption, lawlessness, lack of governance — it’s total chaos,” he said in an interview last week.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (43)

  • Usman
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:26AM

    The choice is with the people of Pakistan; either believe a British newspaper on an article that is most probably planted or believe the most honest man in Pakistani politics. The Pakistani print media has already made its choice, it is on the status quo bandwagon.


  • M Bilal
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:30AM

    So what? I am a genuine supporter of PTI and so are thousands other matured youths, and we seriously do not mind if PTI gets backing of so called establishment as they have the vision and leadership that can drive Pakistan out of the current mess!


  • Khalid Javed
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:36AM

    A popular leader like Mr. Khan who has the force of Youth’s passion behind him does not need any agencies’ support. Only the corrupt, unpopular need such backing.


  • Shaan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:40AM

    ET, take a break pl. Tell me a single politician in Pakistan who is not groomed by establishment. Lets assume if PTI is supported by establishment, does it makes rest of the parties any better.

    I think PMLN n PPP is wasting their time n resources by flooding media with such baseless accusations. When they will learn to bring themselves up rather than bringing their opponent down to their level.

    For better or for Worse, People have decide for PTI n such allegations are contributing to its support


  • Teen Dabay Wala
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Who cares whether he is backed by establishment or not. Imran should become PM as he is the only honest and educated politician worthy of this post.


  • give suggestion to imran khan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:05AM

    Imran Khan sugeestion to you is solve the problems of balochistan


  • Siddh
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:08AM

    Imran has to do politics in Pakistan & not in Sweden…. So yes as long as he hasnt sold his soul to the devil, a little politicking here and there to get into power and set things straight is ok…. we as a nation are not angels so why are we looking for one to lead us!!!

    GO on Imran Khan.


  • noman
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:18AM

    61 year old man (IK) can’t be the leader of youth. The present condition of Pakistan is due to corrupt establishment (who ruled the country since 47- 33 yr directly and the rest indirectly). We probably forgot the Musharraf regime who himself was part of estab.


  • Mirza
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:19AM

    The ISPR says the report was “totally baseless and concocted”. I must say just like the presence of OBL in Pakistan was baseless and concocted by the Western media. Only when it comes to opposing the elected govt every foreign paper is authentic otherwise it is all lies and conspiracy. As the time goes by the truth about Qureshi, Khan and other leaders and generals would come out.


  • Nov 22, 2011 - 10:20AM

    The establishment is raising it’s rating for the first time in the eyes of the people, in supporting a genuine cause instead of the rubbish they have been supporting all this time bringing Pakistan to the edge of disaster.


  • antanu g
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:29AM

    any person or party with independent policies and agenda to bring peace and prosperity eill not be allowed by western powers to take the helm in pakistan. Pakisyani people must undestand this and should not follow their intelligentia to whom even a false news item in western newspaper is like a devine scripture.


  • "I only want to be PM"
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Inqalab is Inqalab
    no matter if it is supported by establishment or not.


  • Ali qureshi
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:39AM

    I, like many of his other supporters, don’t support the establishment’s role in Pakistani politics. However, I am clear headed enough to realise that the establishment is also Pakistani, (although granted it has questionable interests) but those interests can only be served if Pakistan continues to remain viable. Therefore, while their silent support is welcomed – their interference isn’t. Until then, all his detractors can continue to do what you do best – speculate.


  • faraz
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:48AM

    How will Imran bring changes in the foreign and defense policy, which has always been run by the army, if he is himself dependent on the army?


  • A Pakistani
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:48AM

    “The report further stated although Imran is reluctant to criticise the military establishment publicly, ”

    This states it all, which is very true.


  • noman
    Nov 22, 2011 - 11:31AM

    we should not make our decisions out of desperation or frustration- IK could be result of either one- but he is not genuine leader- a 60 year oldman who is desperately waiting for his turn since 1992.

    Remember this old man used be a great supporter of Musharraf- actually he saw a revolutionary (Probably like himself) in Musharraf. He never ever raised voices against the Pak Military Support to America and giving away the air bases to US while Musharraf was in Power.


  • noman
    Nov 22, 2011 - 11:39AM

    why dont we ask IK about his performance when he was part of Govt for 04 years (with Musharraf 1999-2003)?

    He is already tested- with all his assets (son and wife) abroad!


  • Ali
    Nov 22, 2011 - 11:55AM

    If Shahbaz meets with Chief of army staff its okay, if somebody else then he is establishment man.


  • zeeshan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:37PM

    It shows the frustration of the people which dont want any change in the political culture and want to hinder in the way of INQILAB….But i am sure that Imran khan will be through…. Good LUck khan and welcome to the politics


  • Zoaib
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:24PM

    “Alvi reiterated that they were sending a strong letter to The Sunday Times to retract the falsehood, “otherwise we reserve the right to claim damages in a court of law”.”

    This is the right way to go about it. Sunday Times should be sued if they don’t retract this story as it affects the credibility of Imran Khan himself, who has called it a “lie” on his twitter. This will shut up those who are spreading this propaganda for good…


  • Lobster
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:59PM


    He never ever raised voices against the Pak Military Support to America and giving away the air bases to US while Musharraf was in Power.

    Such a blatant lie is difficult to produce. My sincere condolences for your dead conscience.


  • Shahid Latif
    Nov 22, 2011 - 2:45PM

    If establishment is indeed helping Imran Khan, it also consists of patriotic people who want a positive change in the country. At least I would welcome all the help that it can provide.


  • M Bilal
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:36PM

    @noman: Atif Aslam or perhaps Ali Zafar will be a better choice, going by your logic, I suppose!


  • Junooni
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:00PM

    I am not going to come back to Pakistan if IK doesnt come into power. Let those who vote for PMLN and PPPs face the consequences. Why should I come back to a country that rejects a leader like IK. 15 years. 15 years he strived. Knocked each door of each house in Pakistan to wake them up. If this nation still feels that it needs to be ruled by PMLN and PPP. So be it. Zardari/Nawaz will come into power, as before, and grill this nation 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and for continuous 5 years.

    IK should give up politics. this nation deserves nawaz/zardari.


  • zia
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:03PM

    lolz.. What kind of government was he in??..What kind of ministry did he hold??..Supporting referendum does not meant that he was in the government. But, we can evaluate his performance as an MNA, by seeing his namal college, which provides Bradford degrees to the poor, in a backward place like mianwali……


  • jan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:39PM

    So what if imran gets support from patriotic forces, this will be better for Pakistan, v good news if its true


  • Matters Not
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:41PM

    No matter what . . . .Imran Khan is the honest leader.. . . . And that is why he is getting more and more support and following!! If establisment is supporting him, then they are respecting his honesty, leadership and patriotism! More power to him!!!


  • Double standards!
    Nov 22, 2011 - 8:30PM


    So it is perfectly fine to believe Financial Times and not so much to believe the Sunday Times?


  • Najeeb
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:47PM

    if it is true..he is backed by Pakistani establishment..right?..which is Army or ISI.. I don’t see anything wrong in it.. unless someone proves that Army or ISI are against their own country.. Imran is taking over and those who knows his history should know that he never gives up when he is after a goal.. he has designed him self to work hard and achieve his goal 100%.. For last 15 years he have worked hard enough to get in power.. Let us welcome the change.. Lets us for the first time in the history be proud to be a Pakistani with a real genuine leader..


  • Meekal Ahmed
    Nov 23, 2011 - 2:24AM

    According to your own poll, the impression of establishment support is about 50:50.

    People are not easily fooled even if the Deep State tries very hard.

    The Deep State has a record of trying to influence elections. Why should they stop now when they succeded earlier?

    Besides, their resources (from wherever that comes from) are almost limitless. You can never beat that.


  • shahid Khan
    Nov 23, 2011 - 2:33AM

    Pakistan had decades of politics based on corruption, cronies, nepotism, vice and dishonest politicans. The country is rapidly disintegerating. There is no harm in trying Imran Khan at least for the time being he is not tainted. He is educated and has moral and ethical principles to bring the change needed so much. All talks of him being supported by the establishment is the result of desperation and fear of his imminent rise and is absolute nonsense.

    As Pakistanis living overseas we support Imran to bring that change that he promises. The ultimate demise and complete annihalition of the two tested political parties is the only solution to Pakistan’s problems


  • babar
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:43AM

    No matter what allegation they made against him we dont care we made up our mind we are behind imran khan and pti whether he is backed by agencies or not and one truth is that he best amongst all of the politicians !! Love you IK Love PTI ..


  • anti
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:40AM

    pardon me…but he was an MNA at that time, but not part of Government…he was just a one man opposition..and he did it well then…case closed….!!!!


  • noman
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:30AM

    I reiterate- IK’s assets (his son and beloved (ex) wife) are abroad- do we need to prove it?

    It is quite obvious, if your son is abroad- your property is abroad. I am not arguing to ask him bring his son back- but at least dont stop others doing what you do by yourself!


  • noman
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:35AM

    we are a poltically immature nation!!!! lets welcome Imran and all the Leaders from Q-League who have recently joined him (QTI- Q League Tehrek-e-Insaaf).

    Q-League Zinda Baad/ Musharraf League Zinda Baad

  • ahmer
    Nov 23, 2011 - 10:01AM

    going by the logic of he ha not been given a chance, i have also not been given a chance….i want one too


  • Tariq
    Nov 23, 2011 - 12:40PM

    So what if the establishment is supporting PTI? I’d rather he wins on Eastablishment support than by crooked agreements with dictators and US. I will still vote for IK.


  • Junaid
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:40PM

    Maybe the establishment is secretely supporting him but no one knows about it not even Imran Khan. Imran Khan is a very honest man. He reminds me of my beloved Mamoo.


  • Junaid
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:41PM

    When I have a son, I will name him Imran :)


  • Rehman
    Nov 25, 2011 - 2:56AM

    PTI has already taken legal action against the british newspaper ” The sunday times “. PTI has sued the newspaper. That should be enough to shut the mouths of opponents.


  • fahim
    Nov 25, 2011 - 3:00AM

    All Nationalist, public services and law enforcemet take Oath to prevent and safegaurd country fromall internal and external elements, who work against the interest of pakistan and its people. now establishment , law enforcement, media , justice and youth all will support the well wishter of country.PTI is better choice among others failed options.


    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:23AM

    No doubt it is fact establishment is behind the PTI.Imran will accept this fact.Recommend

  • noman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:31AM


    when you have a son- name him Mian Azhar, Faiz Tamman, Shah Mehmood or Ghulam Sarwar Khan


More in Pakistan