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Friday May 17, 2024

Imran Khan’s U-turns score nears a century

Former premier once described taking a U-turn as a "hallmark of great leadership"

By Fakhar Durrani
February 14, 2023
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the nation on Friday, April 8, 2022. — Instagram/Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the nation on Friday, April 8, 2022. — Instagram/Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: With the latest change in Imran Khan’s stance on regime change conspiracy, the number of U-turns the former premier has taken might have crossed a century. The only consistent policy of Imran Khan on which he has never taken an about turn is “taking a U-turn on almost every statement.”

Imran described a U-turn as a hallmark of leadership. On November 18, 2018 while justifying and defending his about turns, Imran Khan tweeted, “Doing a U-turn to reach an objective is the hallmark of great leadership just as lying to save ill-gotten wealth is the hallmark of crooks.”

After coming into power, Khan together with his cabinet stepped back from most of the promises he made to the nation before winning the 2018 elections. Even after he was ousted from the government, the U-turns policy is still a consistent part of Khan’s strategy.

Below is the list of Imran Khan’s famous U-turns that he has taken over the years.

1- On March 27, 2022 Imran Khan while addressing a public rally in Islamabad claimed that the United State is behind the opposition’s no-confidence move and conspiring against his government. Later he changed as many as four stances on this statement of US conspiracy.

2- At a time when he made a claim about a US regime change conspiracy, his party was signing a deal with an American lobbying firm to mend the relations with the US Administration and building a positive image of the party.

3- Imran Khan changed his stance on the US conspiracy and alleged that a powerful establishment was behind the no-confidence move. If not, they could have stop the conspiracy against his government.

4-Imran again changed his stance on US-conspiracy theory and this time he blamed Nawaz, Zardari, Maulana Fazl and others as the real character of the operation regime.

5- As if this was not enough, Khan once again altered his stance on the regime change conspiracy and claimed the caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi was behind the operation regime change.

6-Now, finally Imran Khan has made a 360 degree U-turn and said the regime change conspiracy wasn’t import, it rather was an exported conspiracy.

7-After he was ousted as prime minister, Imran questioned the logic of the Army Chief’s meeting with the opposition leaders. Whereas, at the same time the media revealed that Khan also held a meeting with the then Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

8-Imran warned his party leaders and members of the National Assembly not to meet any foreign diplomats at the time of no-confidence move. However, later not only PTI leaders but Imran Khan also met with diplomats.

9-In the process of no-confidence motion, Khan claimed the opposition parties are trying to buy his party members’ votes. Later an audio leak revealed that Khan himself was trying to manage the votes to save his government.

10-During his government, Imran Khan termed COAS Gen Bajwa as a pro-democracy military chief. But after he was ousted from power, Imran termed him Mir Jaffer and Mir Sadiq.

11-Offered an extension to General Bajwa in return for saving his government. However, after he was ousted as the PM, Imran criticized Bajwa.

12-As a Prime Minister Imran boasted that he had all the powers but when ousted, he changed his stance and said he was a toothless head of the government.

13- Khan claimed several times that the intelligence agencies had briefed him about Nawaz Zardari’s corruption. However, he changed his stance after he was thrown out of power and said establishment wanted to save Nawaz and Zardari.

14-Imran Khan and his government defended PECA ordinance and cases registered against journalist under this act but now criticizing the government on cases against journalists under the same act that was passed during his government.

15- After the no-confidence move was succeeded, Imran Khan asked his MNAs to resign from the National Assembly. However, later he ordered his MNAs to go back to the parliament and take back their resignations.

16-Imran Khan and his party leaders announced they would not become part of this imported parliament and contest by-elections but later Khan himself contested elections on eight out of nine vacant seats.

17-Imran Khan and his party leaders announced Khan will contest elections on all the vacant seats of National Assembly but later they decided PTI’s candidates will contest the elections on the vacant seats.

18-Imran Khan visited Russia at the time when the host country was about to wage a war. Later he defended by saying that he didn’t know Russia would start the war during his visit.

19-Imran Khan and his party leaders claimed Khan had finalized an agreement with Russia for oil supply at cheaper rates. The Russian government clarified no agreement was signed in this regard.

20-Imran always took credit for introducing neutral umpires in cricket but when his government was toppled, Imran criticized the military leadership and said only animals can be neutral.

21-Imran Khan said he would never sit with thieves’ governments for a dialogue. He would hold dialogue only with the military leadership. However, now the PTI has offered to hold a dialogue for the elections.

22 In November 2021, Khan Government allowed India to use Pakistan’s airspace for the planes flying from Indian Occupied Kashmir. Later it came to know that the foreign office was not taken into confidence and on the reservations of the foreign office Khan’s government took back the decision.

23-On November 1st Ogra sent a summary of the increase in petroleum prices. Khan rejected the summary and said he would not put additional burden on the public. However, within five days he took a U-turn and increased the petroleum price.

24-Khan termed the recent Peshawar attack as a security failure of the government but it was his government that held talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

25-On March 13, 2022 just before the no-confidence move, Khan said while addressing a public rally that he did not come into government to check the prices of tomato and potato. After he was removed from the government Khan constantly reminded the government of basic commodities prices and inflation.

26-Imran Khan criticized the establishment for being neutral at a time when his government was being toppled. However, now he claims that General retired Bajwa was behind the removal of his government.

27-Imran Khan termed PPP leader Syed Khurshid Shah as a PA (Personal Assistant of Zardari). However, during the Senate Chairman elections, Imran Khan stood behind Khurshid Shah in the press briefing.

28- In 1997, Khan started his politics by criticizing the role of military establishment in politics but later he voted for Pervez Musharraf to get him elected as a uniformed president of the country.

29-Imran Khan became a member of the National Assembly in Musharraf’s regime but later turned against him. Musharraf later claimed Imran wanted 100 seats from him.

30- For Imran Khan, Toshakhana gifts when given to other rulers belong to the state but when he received these gifts he straightaway sold these gifts.

31-Imran Khan always criticized the electables and announced he would never take these electables into his party. But later he formed his government in Punjab with the help of those electables.

32-Imran Khan hated turncoats, but after a 2010 public rally he accepted all the turncoats who chose to join his party. Chaudhry Pervez Elahi at that time blamed General Ahmed Shuja Pasha for this move.

33-Imran promised before the public that he would never use anyone’s shoulders to come into power but later confessed that agencies used to help him by bringing parliamentarians before any important legislation.

34-In February 2022, the Imran Khan Government in a written agreement with the IMF agreed to implement the new petroleum and electricity prices but within three weeks, they violated the agreement by taking a U-turn.

35-Imran Khan always criticized the Amnesty scheme and termed it a whitening of black money scheme. However, his government introduced several such schemes and his close associates like Farah Khan availed this scheme.

36-Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) was a party of Ashiqan-e-Rasool when Imran Khan was not in power. However, when they protested during Imran Khan’s own government Khan took action against them.

37-Imran Khan Government in a national security meeting decided to take action against the TLP but within two days of this decision, Khan Government signed a deal with TLP and released all the arrested workers.

38-Imran Khan promised he would never bring a larger delegation to any foreign trips but the media has reported several times that Khan visited with a huge entourage.

39-Khan criticized the Metro bus and his own government started the Metro Bus project in Peshawar.

40-Imran Khan promised he would never defend any corrupt element but despite serious allegations on Khan’s close associate Farah Khan, he defended her publically.

41-Imran Khan appointed the current Chief Election Commissioner in his own government and gave good remarks about him. However, later changed his stance and leveled allegations against him.

42-Khan also had good opinions about former Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ibrahim but after the 2013 elections, he turned against him as well.

43-Imran promised that his Azadi march will be peaceful but when the march reached Jinnah Avenue Islamabad, it turned violent and burnt trees and other properties there.

44-When Asia Bibi was released on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, there were countrywide protests against her. Imran Khan’s government decided they would not compromise on national security and deal with the protestors with iron hands. However, Khan’s government signed an accord with the protestors.

45-Imran Khan’s government told the Islamabad High Court that revealing the details of Toshakhana is a national security matter. However, later it was revealed that Khan sold all those gifts that he received from different countries.

46-Khan who claimed Toshakhana details are state secrets during his own government. But started demanding revealing the details of other governments as well.

47-Before the elections, Imran Khan promised that he would not stay in the PM House. After taking oath as PM, first it was announced that he will stay at Speaker House, then again the decision was changed and the media was told that he will stay at Punjab House. However, ultimately he is now settled in the PM House where he is residing in the Military Secretary House.

48-As a prime minister, he will never get protocol, Imran promised to the nation before the elections. However, he is not only using six luxury vehicles specified for the PM but all other protocols are also being accorded to him as the prime minister of the country.

49-Imran Khan used to give examples that if Holland’s prime minister can travel on a bicycle then why can’t our premiers follow it. However, after being elected as prime minister, Imran Khan travels from PM House to Banigala through helicopter.

50-Imran Khan used to call former chief minister Punjab as the biggest robber of Punjab. However, after winning the general elections, Pervaiz Elahi is not only a key ally of Imran Khan, but the PTI also elected him as Speaker of Punjab Assembly. Imran Khan also gave a few seats in the provincial as well as federal cabinet to Pervaiz Elahi’s party.

51-Before the general elections in 2018, Imran Khan used to call the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) a terrorists party. He even once announced that he would lodge complaint against the MQM chief in UK. However, after winning the general elections, not only the MQM is Imran Khan’s ally party but he has allotted them key posts in the federal cabinet as well.

52-Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry told journalists a day after Imran Khan’s oath as PM that he would not travel abroad during first three months. However, Imran Khan has made at least five foreign trips, including two to Saudi Arabia and one each to United Arab Emirates, China and Malaysia.

53-“I will not appoint Sheikh Rashid even as my peon,” Imran Khan once claimed in a TV talk show long time ago. However, Sheikh Rashid is not only a member of Imran’s cabinet but he is one of his key advisers as well.

54-During the first cabinet meeting of Imran Khan-led government, it was decided that the prime minister and his cabinet will not use special plane for their foreign visits. The PM and his cabinet would travel through commercial flights. But Imran Khan has used the Airforce One — a special plane for PM in all his foreign tours. Even Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood used a chartered plane for his visit to Afghanistan.

55-Imran Khan used to criticise his political opponents for nepotism. He always promised that he will appoint eligible persons on key posts as he is against nepotism. However, all his close friends including Zulfi Bukhari, Naeemul Haq, Awn Chaudhry have been given some role in his government.

56-Imran Khan promised the nation that he will not tolerate political interference in police and will bring reforms in Punjab Police. He promised that he will appoint Nasir Durrani — former IGP KP as head of the police reforms committee. However, after the incident of DPO Pakpattan, Durrani resigned as head of the committee in protest against political interference in the police department.

57-“I will not take corrupt people in my team,” Imran promised the nation before general elections. However, many key members of his provincial and federal cabinets are facing NAB cases including Pervaiz Khattak, Aleem Khan and Zulfi Bukhari.

58-“I will prefer committing suicide instead of begging from the IMF,” Imran promised to the nation before the elections. However, he has not only given a go-ahead to his finance minister for availing a bailout package from the IMF, but he has also approached other countries for financial aid to take Pakistan out of economic crisis.

59-Dr Arif Alvi, after being elected as President of Pakistan while talking to media told that he would not stay in the Presidency. However, he has also shifted to the Presidency.

60-During the second cabinet meeting, Imran Khan imposed ban on foreign visits of his cabinet members. But, he himself accompanied half a dozen ministers in his each foreign tour. In his recent visit to China, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Adviser on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razzak Dawood, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal and others accompanied the premier.

61-Imran Khan announced that his government would give nationality to Afghan and Bengali citizens. However, later the decision was taken back due to untold reasons.

62-After the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, Imran told the nation that he would not allow any disqualified person to run party’s affairs. However, Jahangir Tareen played key role in forming the PTI government in Punjab as he brought many independent candidates on the PTI platform. In fact, Imran Khan made him convener of a task force for livestock and agriculture.

63-Imran Khan promised that he would depoliticise the bureaucracy. But during last three months, Imran Khan’s party’s frequent interference in the bureaucracy has sparked many controversies. DPO Pakpatan’s transfer, IG Punjab and Islamabad’s transfers are a few examples of the PTI government’s interference in bureaucracy.

64-Before coming into the government, Imran Khan used to criticise the political influence in Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) affairs. He promised that he would depoliticise the PCB. However, after coming into power, he nominated his close friend Ehsan Mani for the post of PCB chairman.

65-Imran Khan promised that he would keep his cabinet short and will appoint up to 20 ministers. However, the federal cabinet is almost double than he had promised.

66-Imran Khan, in his first address to the nation promised that he will answer the questions of parliamentarians every week during the parliamentary sessions. However, despite passage of 100 days, Imran Khan has only attended seven out of 28 National Assembly sessions.

67-Imran promised to make Pakistan as ‘Riyasat-e-Madina’ where everyone will be equal and there will be no concept of VIPs. However, the recent incidents of Azam Swati, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed’s son and Imran Shah are few examples of VIP culture in ‘Naya Pakistan’.

68-Imran Khan and many other PTI leaders claimed that they would bring the looted money amounting to around $200 billion back to Pakistan after they come into government. Now the cabinet members have clarified that the $200 billion amount was not a correct and it was based on assumptions.

69-Imran Khan and his close aide Asad Umar used to criticise the previous government on petroleum prices hike. They promised that they would formulate a proper mechanism to determine the petroleum prices. They also promised they would cut the petroleum levy and ultimately reduce the petroleum prices. However, after coming into power, his government has increased the petroleum prices a couple of times.

70-Imran promised that he would reduce the electricity price after coming into power. However, the PTI-led government has increased the electricity prices by Rs2 per unit.

71-In the past, Imran Khan and Asad Umar criticised the previous government for increasing the gas prices and promised they would reduce the prices of natural gas. However, Imran Khan’s government has increased the gas prices up to 143 percent, one of the highest increase in recent past.

72-At the time of Janubi Punjab Suba Mahaz merger with the PTI, Imran Khan promised that a resolution would be passed in the Parliament for the creation of a new province in Punjab. However, no resolution has been tabled before the Parliament during first hundred days of the government.

73-Imran promised that PM, CMs and Governor Houses would be converted into educational institutions. However, not only Imran Khan has shifted to the PM House, but his party’s CMs and governors have also shifted into CM and Governor Houses.

74-Imran Khan took another U-turn on the formation of Economic Advisory Council. After appointing Atif Mian as member of the EAC, his government asked him to step down as it could not face the pressure of religious parties and groups.

75-Imran Khan’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood issued a controversial statement about CPEC. Dawood in an interview to Financial Times revealed that the government is planning to review the CPEC projects. However, the adviser ate his words after the criticism on the PTI government.

76-He was also critical of Nawaz Sharif for inaugurating different development projects as, he thought, this should have been done by the head of the concerned department. Then public saw him going against his own preaching when he inaugurated Rawalpindi-Mianwali Express the other day. Durrani didn’t offer any comment on this.

77-Imran Khan promised that he would never welcome the electables in his party as they blackmail the governments. However, Imran Khan is one of the biggest recipient of electables in the recent elections. He also justified his decision of welcoming the electables in his party by saying that they know the art of contesting elections.

78-Imran Khan promised he will not include any NAB-tainted person in his party or in his cabinet. However, many leaders including Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Zulfi Bukhari who are facing NAB investigation, are also members of federal cabinet. Aleem Khan — Senior Minister of Punjab government, is also facing NAB inquiry.

79-Imran Khan used to criticise the previous governments for inducting dual nationals in the key government posts. But Zulfi Bukhari is the prime example in Imran Khan’s government who has dual nationality.

80-Imran Khan promised that the nation would witness an obvious change during his first 100 days in government. However, he later said his government should be given at least six months to judge his performance. Now a few ministers of the PTI have started claiming that they had never talked about 100 days.