Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, has been known for his close ties with the military since he entered politics. However, in recent months, he has been openly critical of the military and its interference in politics. This U-turn has left many wondering about his motivations and what it means for Pakistan’s future.
Khan, a former cricketer, founded his political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in 1996. He had been a vocal critic of the two major political parties in Pakistan, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which he accused of corruption and mismanagement.
Khan’s political fortunes began to change in 2011 when he launched a campaign against US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. His anti-US stance resonated with many Pakistanis, and he began to gain support across the country.
In the 2013 general elections, the PTI emerged as the third-largest party in the National Assembly. Although the party did not win enough seats to form a government, Khan’s popularity continued to grow.
In the 2018 general elections, the PTI emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly, and Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Many believed that his close ties with the military had helped him win the election.
However, Khan’s relationship with the military began to sour soon after he took office. In 2019, he fired his Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, after a leaked report suggested that he had shared sensitive information with the US ambassador to Pakistan.
Later that year, Khan’s government filed a treason case against former President Pervez Musharraf, who had come to power in a military coup in 1999. The military was not happy with the move, and tensions between Khan and the military began to escalate.
In 2020, Khan’s government arrested former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had been convicted of corruption, and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. Many believed that the military had played a role in their arrest.
Khan’s criticism of the military has increased in recent months. He has accused the military of interfering in politics, and his government has sacked several military officials. The military has responded by accusing Khan’s government of corruption and mismanagement.
Many believe that Khan’s U-turn from the military’s man to army critic is driven by a desire to establish himself as an independent political force in Pakistan. However, it remains to be seen whether his criticism of the military will lead to any meaningful change in Pakistan’s political landscape.