During his speech at Zaman Park in Lahore on May 13, following his release on bail through IHC, PTI Chairman Imran Khan took about 20 minutes to emphasise that his fight was nonviolent and that he had always been against it. However, he misreported even the events of May 9.
On May 9, the ISPR designated it as Black Day. In a single week, on May 8, 10, and 12, Imran Khan and his party forced the Army to issue three press releases.
The press release of May 12 was, however, damning: “What the external enemy of the country could not do for seventy-five years, this group, wearing a political cloak, in the lust for power, has done,” the ISPR said.
Over the past year, Imran Khan has methodically indoctrinated his gullible supporters using his populist rhetoric. He would tell them how the army leadership had turned against him. Since the army works under a single, unifying authority, the entire army obeys the army chief. Imran had been going after Gen Qamar Bajwa, but now he is going after Gen Syed Asim Munir.
For example, recently, a malicious smear campaign was launched to question the academic qualifications of the army chief, Gen Syed Asim Munir who leads one of the largest armies in the world. This campaign was propagated by a senior aide to Imran Khan in various chat groups.
During an interview with VOA on IHC premises, he said one man (implicitly referring to the Army Chief) was responsible for his political challenges.
It was alarmingly noted that this was the third time that Imran Khan attempted to blackmail the army chief since 2014, which is unprecedented.
The implications of such a campaign were deeply concerning, as it would undermine the credibility and integrity of the Pakistan Army, which is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the nation.
No politician except Imran Khan dared to do so in the recent past.
Additionally, during his political campaigns, Imran Khan failed to provide clear instructions to his party officials regarding nonviolence.
As a result, on May 9, party leaders forced their supporters into forbidden regions, resulting in violence and chaos. Khan’s radicalised followers even went so far as to ransack military buildings.
Khan’s May 13 speech was riddled with inaccuracies and conspiracy theories. He mentioned people in white outfits driving around, despite no evidence of their presence. It was clear that someone had led him astray.
He also claimed that there were strangers in Lahore with four ears or two noses, which was clearly untrue. While there were people present, the majority were PTI supporters who were aware of the situation.
Khan failed to denounce the violence of May 9, instead claiming that his party had no history of violence or killing anyone. However, the recent attacks on state symbols such as Jinnah House, Radio Pakistan Peshawar, and shopping malls and tube stations by PTI supporters were not a result of his arrest in the IHC, but rather a deliberate campaign against the Army that has been ongoing for a year.
Imran Khan’s May 13 speech was a disappointing display of misinformation. It came after his conversation with reporters in the IHC, in which Khan failed to express any remorse or condemnation for the actions of his party towards Pakistan and the Army. Instead, he issued a warning that another backlash would occur if another arrest were to take place.
This lack of accountability and responsibility is concerning and raises questions about the leadership of Imran Khan and his party.
It is imperative that leaders take responsibility for their actions and work towards creating a better future for their country and its people. Failure to do so can lead to further instability and unrest.
Nevertheless, the army chief’s warning that further violence will not be tolerated, Imran will likely continue to spread conspiracies and his supporters will continue to believe them. It is clear that no nation can tolerate such extreme violence, especially if it is planned, provoked, or carried out with malicious intent.
Jan Achakzai is a geopolitical analyst, a Balochistan politician, and a former media and strategic communications advisor to GOB. He tweets @jan_Achakzai