Tuesday August 16, 2022

‘Neutrals’ are determined to stay neutral

Imran Khan’s effort to suck in the army into politics in his favour has not impressed the military establishment, an informed defence source said

June 04, 2022
Ex-PM Imran Khan. Photo: The News/File
Ex-PM Imran Khan. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan is frustratingly increasing his pressure on the military establishment to help him achieve his political goal of regaining power through early elections but the latter is determined to stay neutral.

Khan’s effort to suck in the army into politics in his favour has not impressed the military establishment, an informed defence source said, adding that the military establishment will neither be intimidated nor succumb to the pressure tactics adopted by the PTI chairman.

The source said that the military establishment has learnt the lesson of its past mistakes and is therefore determined that it would restrict itself within its constitutional role. The source said that neither Imran Khan nor any other politician should expect the army to interfere into politics like before. “No interference in politics. Let the politicians sort out their matters themselves,” the source said.

Regarding the recent meeting between the government and opposition facilitated by the establishment, the source said that this is the maximum that the establishment could do, that too if it is requested. It is said that it was done for the purpose of making the politicians sit together to find lasting solutions to the serious challenges facing the nation and the country.

Ever since his ouster from the Prime Minister’s Office, Imran Khan is targeting, directly or indirectly, the military establishment and holding it responsible for facilitating what he considered the US conspiracy hatched to remove his government. Initially, his reference to establishment used to be subtle but later he started making it clear and direct -- leaving no ambiguity who was his real target.

Khan has been consistently asking the military establishment, whom he dubbed as “neutrals”, not to stay neutral and help him in immediate dissolution of the National Assembly and holding of early elections.

On Friday, Imran Khan, while referring to what he saw as the economic achievements of his government, again addressed the “neutrals” and said that during the last days of his government he had conveyed to the “neutrals” that if the conspiracy to oust his government succeeded, it would seriously hurt the economy of the country. He recalled that the former Soviet Union collapsed because of economic reasons.

On Thursday, the former prime minister again, while addressing the “neutrals”, said that the country was on the verge of collapse and history would not forgive the establishment if it continued to stay neutral.

"A bunch of thieves is leading the country towards nowhere and people know where the real power rests," the PTI chief had told a public meeting in the Bisham town of Shangla district. He said that one could not remain neutral when the country was going down.

In a recent TV interview, Khan warned that if the establishment did not take the right decision then Pakistan would break into three parts. In the interview with a private television channel, the former prime minister, who was ousted through a no-confidence motion earlier this year, said the current political situation was a problem for the country as well as the establishment.

"If the establishment doesn't make the right decisions, then I can assure in writing that they and the army will be destroyed because of what will become of the country if it goes bankrupt," he said. "Pakistan is going towards a default. If that happens then which institution will be [worst] hit? The army. After it is hit, what concession will be taken from us? Denuclearisation."

"If the right decisions aren't made at this time, then the country is going towards suicide," he warned. "Indian think tanks abroad are mulling to separate Balochistan, they have plans, this is why I am putting pressure," the ousted premier said.