Imran in dire straits: Powerful military shows who’s the boss - The Tribune India

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Imran in dire straits

Powerful military shows who’s the boss

Imran in dire straits

Imran Khan Pakistan former Prime Minister. File photo



Why are you in a hurry?’ former Pakistan PM Imran Khan asked the judges on Wednesday, the day he and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in jail in the ‘Toshakhana’ corruptoin case. It seems the judges are indeed in a hurry to pin down the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader — he was given a 10-year jail sentence for violating the Official Secrets Act on Tuesday. The two verdicts come just days before the February 8 general election. They only lengthen the security establishment’s shadow over the power structure. The military leadership had once propped up Imran’s government. On the receiving end then was Nawaz Sharif, who was removed from office in 2017 and convicted of corruption. He returned to Pakistan last year after years in self-imposed exile. In a twist of fate symptomatic of Pakistan’s military-guided model of democracy, he is now in contention for a fourth stint as Prime Minister.

The rules of the game remain crystal clear — those who confront the Generals in Rawalpindi run the risk of being removed from the scene. Imran, who is serving a three-year prison sentence in a corruption case, faces nearly 150 cases. His latest convictions stem from allegations that he violated secrecy laws when he waved a diplomatic cable at a rally, and that he acquired gifts from the PM ‘Toshakhana’ at low prices and sold them at huge profits. The former cricket star, who remains a popular leader, has been barred from contesting elections.

India has for long borne the brunt of the weakened polity in Pakistan. The military’s distrust of civilian leaders makes dealing with any government an exercise fraught with risks. Political polarisation is only expected to widen and the instability offers little hope of mending the ties between the two countries.

#Imran Khan #Pakistan


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