The events of the alleged assassination unfolded in a way that seemed harmless at first look. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan began his ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ (real freedom) march to mobilize the supporters against the ruling regime for conducting general elections earlier than the due date, on the 3rd of November. He was shot by an attacker named Naveed Ahmed who accused the politician of manipulating and misleading the people of the country. He is recovering from the attack and has accused the present government leader, the interior minister, and the ISI of this attack.
Pakistan has a history of such attacks and while famous leaders in the past have lost their lives, Imran Khan was fortunate enough to survive the attack.
The attack on him was condemned by all other nations and people within the country also criticized the incident. Attack on any political leader is a threat to democracy and to a country like Pakistan which is still struggling to establish a democratic form of government. The incident gave rise to many theories behind this attack.
Imran Khan’s response
Addressing the people from the hospital he said that he has the overwhelming support of the people as his party swept the recent by-election where the party won 15 out of 20 seats. The misuse of government machinery also did not come to rescue the opposition during the by-poll, he said. He asked for the resignation of the people who he accused of the attack and also asked people to keep their spirits high as he will begin his march from the same location where he was shot.
Various Theories Clouding Over Imran Khan Assassination Attempt
The attack can be seen as ISI and the army’s message to Imran Khan to stop what he is doing; if he doesn’t do as required, he may face such attacks in the future also. The reason for this is that Pakistan is a deep state where the military often influences the political powers and it wants them to be under its control. Ideally, to be a leader one has to first become the favorite of the army, following which one is promoted to higher posts. Experts in this field also suggest that due to the support Imran Khan is getting the country might see a civil war, as there are protests outside the residence of military officials and the people of the country are going against the incumbent establishment.
On the other hand, there are also assumptions that the attack was pre-planned by his party to get the sympathy of the masses and to use it in the elections. The argument for this is that if the ISI and the army are involved, then they would have eliminated him in one go and not gone for half-hearted attempts as previous also leaders like Benazir Bhutto have been assassinated and till date, the administration is not able to determine the real mastermind behind the attack. After Imran Khan’s accusations, Shehbaz Sharif said, “If there is even a shred of evidence of conspiracy, I will resign”. The organization of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has imposed a ban on Imran Khan’s live speeches, and the airing of his press conferences on any electronic medium. The prohibitory order comes after the regulatory blamed Imran Khan for deliberately plotting his assassination and banned any of his statements from being aired on the mass media of electronic nature.
They also justify their decision by saying that airing such content can create hatred among the citizens. Such content can potentially polarize the masses and should be banned for the maintenance of law and order in the country. Anything that endangers national security is a serious violation of Article 19 of the Pakistani constitution and Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as well as the Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015.
The attacker also confessed that Imran Khan was pro-Israel as he said, “They [Khan’s government] accepted Israel. Accepting Israel is not something a Muslim should do. Our prophet (peace be upon him) said only a kafir (infidel) can be friends with another kafir, and [any Muslim attempting the same] will also become kafir alongside them”. But while investigating, police reported from the attacker’s neighbor that he was not a religious man, so it’s hard to conclude whether he was really worried about the reason he is giving or he is just a puppet working under someone else’s order.
The attack on the Former cricketer turned Politician was not a good sign for the country as it proceeds to the elections, Law, and order should be maintained to prevent the country from another Civil War.