Imran Khan’s duel with Pakistan military and its impact on nation’s democracy

Photo Courtesy Channel News Asia

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has become a controversial figure in Pakistan, causing tension with the country’s military, long considered the primary power broker in the nation. His arrest this week comes after a series of critical statements against a senior intelligence officer, escalating the conflict between Khan’s popularity and the military’s significant influence. According to US-based Stimson Center analyst Elizabeth Threlkeld, Khan has vocalized previously unspoken criticisms of Pakistan’s establishment and military, making it difficult to suppress such viewpoints.

Pakistan’s military has been deeply involved in domestic politics since the country’s independence in 1947, staging three coups and ruling directly for more than three decades. Many political leaders and analysts believed that Khan’s ascent to power in 2018 was backed by the military establishment. However, after disagreements with the military over foreign policy and other issues, he was removed from power in April via a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

Despite new regulations designed to shield the military from criticism, the 70-year-old Khan has escalated his attacks, accusing a senior intelligence officer, Major-General Faisal Naseer, of being involved in a November assassination attempt. Analyst Hasan Askari states that Khan’s risky strategy may have been intended to pressure the army into withdrawing support from the current government. Following Khan’s recent accusations, he was arrested by paramilitary rangers when appearing at the Islamabad High Court.

While the long-term future of democracy in Pakistan remains uncertain, Khan’s actions and the subsequent response have already strained relations between the former cricket star and the military establishment. With tensions unlikely to subside, Khan’s continued vocalization of his criticisms could further impact the country’s political landscape, reports Channel News Asia.

World News


Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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