News Release

Pakistan’s Khan Against the Generals — and the U.S.? 


Tariq Ali writes in “Khan Against the Generals” that: “For much of the past week, former Pakistani Prime Minster Imran Khan’s house in Lahore has been surrounded by armed police, and the Rangers — a repressive force straddling the police and Army but under civilian control — have been on standby. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has ruled that Khan should not be arrested, but he doubts he will stay out of jail for long. The entire leadership of his party, the PTI [Pakistan Movement for Justice], is currently behind bars. A state crackdown is in full swing.

“This marks a dramatic escalation of the political war between the PTI and the Army, along with its favoured politicians and the government it manoeuvred into place after removing Khan from office last April. The new administration is essentially a coalition of Pakistan’s dynastic parties led by Bhutto-Zardari and the Sharif family. Since it was installed, Khan has repeatedly accused the U.S. of orchestrating the congressional coup against him — motivated by his refusal to support their interventions in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Large numbers of anti-American protesters have taken to the streets, demanding his reinstatement. …

“Every opinion poll shows him sweeping the country at the next general election. On 8 May, a nervous Army leadership — by no means unified — and a Sharif government fearing a political wipeout, took the decision to arrest Khan by sending in a team of Rangers while he was in the High Court dealing with an old corruption case. He was immediately dragged off to a squalid prison.”

Ahmad just wrote the piece “Following failed kidnapping of Imran Khan, Pakistan’s regime desperately cracks down on dissent.” He states: “When the military briefly kidnapped Khan in May, the U.S. government refused to comment on the act, which amounted to a de facto endorsement.

“Since then, the State Department has only issued vague declarations on the need to respect the ‘rule of law’ and ‘democratic principles’ (despite the fact that the regime it is currently backing was not elected).

“However, there may be some divisions emerging in the Washington establishment over this whole gruesome affair in Pakistan.

“Even notorious neoconservative U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, who helped oversee the war on Afghanistan, has conceded that Pakistan is now a ‘military dictatorship.'”

Ahmad teaches law, religion, and world politics in Pakistan and is the director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Decoloniality.