Islamabad: Former Pakistan premier Imran Khan has seen the best and the worst of times in his relationship with the country’s powerful military establishment.
From being the blue-eyed boy, who was taken very well care of and was extended all support to become the country’s Prime Minister, to becoming the worst mistake of the same institution, Imran Khan is now the Frankenstein’s monster, who needs to be neutralised.
It is a known and established fact that Khan’s political struggles, his anti-government protests, rallies, long marches and political movements were backed by the then sitting military establishment, which supported Khan’s rise in the political arena and presented him as the ‘hero’, the saviour of Pakistan’s dignity, its progress and its spiritual transformation.
In 2018, when Khan won the elections and took office as the Prime Minister, his opposition parties used to call him “selected”, terming him as the one who was brought to power through a selection process of the military establishment.
Khan himself has said that he had the complete backing of the then sitting Army chief General (Retd) Qamar Jawed Bajwa, the intelligence agencies and the institution at large, who he said had to be asked to call and force his ally ruling party members to attend parliamentary sessions and important meetings to vote in favour of various decisions.
But, at the time of Khan’s government, some decisions by him created major rifts between the military establishment and him, which experts believe became the reason that turned the military establishment’s guns against him.
One of the decisions was reversal of many projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which were forced to go into review on orders of Khan, tipping off Beijing, Islamabad’s saviour in its difficult financial times.
The second reason why the military turned against Khan was his ignorance towards the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, which was irked by Khan’s announcement of forming a joint alliance with Turkey and Malaysia to represent the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia took a very strong notice of the matter and warned Khan of consequences if any such attempts were made.
The third reason was the attitude of Khan during the time when the opposition formed an alliance and decided to oust him through a vote of no confidence in the Parliament.
“Imran Khan insisted Bajwa to come to his rescue and stop the formation of the alliance. While Bajwa asked him to negotiate a way out with his opposition parties, Khan refused to have any consultation with his opposition through direct talks and pressurised the military establishment to stop them,” said a source with inside information of the events.
“Khan seemed to be offering an unlimited extension to Bajwa if he would stop the VONC. And if not, he threatened to remove Bajwa as Army chief,” the source added.
It was then that not only Bajwa decided to part ways with Khan, but also further weakened Khan by letting his party break into pieces with coalition partners defecting, resulting in a successful vote of no confidence that ousted him of power.
And today, with Bajwa retiring and General Asim Munir taking over as Army chief, Khan’s hopes of any access of engagement with the military establishment have ended.
“Khan’s difficult history with COAS General Asim Munir, his full-fledged campaign to stop his appointment, and the most recent incident of May 9 when Khan’s supporters attacked military installations, can be seen as the last nail in the coffin for Khan’s political existence,” said the source.
Today, when Khan is being isolated of his political support and is being left alone, his demands of negotiations are increasing with every passing day. However, Khan’s demands are deflecting on the closed doors of the establishment.
“Khan was a military project, their best pick as a political front face… And their worst mistake,” the source said.