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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
11 Muharram 1446  

BBC host advises PTI chief against running for election to ‘calm tensions’ in Pakistan

Sackur tells Imran Khan he is facing karma for supporting Nawaz's ouster
BBC HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur - Screengrab via YouTube/Imran Khan
BBC HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur - Screengrab via YouTube/Imran Khan

BBC HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur has advised PTI Chairman Imran Khan against running for elections saying his participation in the electoral process may send Pakistan over the edge while he may help ease tensions in Pakistan by choosing to ‘back off.’

“I believe your own children have told you that you ought to get out of politics for your own safety. Why will you not heed that advice because it may be the only way to calm tensions in your country,” Sackur told the PTI chief who appeared on BBC World News show HARDtalk.

“If elections are to be held this year, you have a choice, you either try to run or you back off because it could send Pakistan over the edge,” he said.

Sackur also reminded Khan of his past views regarding the disqualification of politicians by the courts and said the possibility Khan was facing similar fate was ‘karma.’

“I’m sure you’re all familiar with the notion of karma and the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’. The positions you stake out today are very different from the positions you’ve taken in the past and your enthusiasm for the court’s ruling that Nawaz Sharif back should not be allowed to run again for public office,” he said.

The BBC journalist went on to add that Khan in the past had been saying that the courts had every right to bar a senior politician from running for office. “The courts may well be about to bar you from running for office in the forthcoming election, so it’s going to be difficult for you to argue that the courts have no right to do that.”

Khan agreed that ‘noose’ was tightening around him.

The former prime minister is facing dozens of charges including sedition, terrorism and abetting murder which his party claims is an attempt to keep him out of politics.

The cases against Khan and his party leaders and members piled up after violent protesters took to the streets reacting to Khan’s arrest on May 9.

Read: Imran Khan nominated in GHQ attack case

Khan and his party deny any involvement in the events that ensued after his arrests and allege that the incidents of vandalising public properties and military installations were pre-planned to tighten the noose around PTI.

Sackur also questioned the manner Khan carried his rhetoric of inciting the PTI workers against state institutions.

“Perhaps one of your most serious errors was fermenting an atmosphere after you were ousted from power last year, an atmosphere in which you encouraged hostility toward the military.

“When you were arrested in May of this year, your supporters immediately took to the streets in violent protests which included violence directed against military targets including the house of one senior general. They were your people responding to your rhetoric.”

“What did you think the supporters would do when they saw the army, the commander, was picking me up from there? Was there not going to be a protest?” Khan responded.

Since the May 9 riots, Khan has refused to take responsibility for the violent protests, saying that common people reacted to his “abduction” and protested across the country.

While Khan accused the establishment of trying to get him out of the political landscape, Sackur recalled the former prime minister’s relationships with the military during his tenure and the alleged support Khan secured within the establishment.

Many in Pakistan claim that Khan had the backing of the army during his rise to power. The parties in the PDM had been alleging that the 2018 elections were rigged to bring Khan to power. Both Khan and the establishment deny such claims.

The truth is, you rode the tiger of military support

“The truth is, you rode the tiger of military support for their political candidate. You rode that tiger yourself in 2018. You remained close to the intelligence services and the military in your early years in power and it was only when you fell out with the military that you decided you wanted no military meddling in politics again. It’s hypocrisy,” he added.

However, Khan denied the accusation and said that his party is the only one not created out by a ‘dictator’. He also claimed that this was the main reason why the party was being dismantled.

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