Pakistan Army charges Imran Khan over attempted murder allegations

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s military has slammed former prime minister Imran Khan for accusing one of his senior officials of orchestrating assassination attempts against him and challenged the ex-cricket star to wear the case in court.
Khan, 70, used a rally over the weekend to accuse the army of being behind at least two attempted murders, focusing on the alleged involvement of a senior military official. the Inter-Service Intelligence, or ISI, which oversees Pakistan’s internal security.
The politician is campaigning for a snap election after being ousted in April 2022 in a vote of no confidence. Emboldened by strong support in opinion polls and rallies, Khan has shown no signs of backing down against the government and military and is seeking Supreme Court backing to hold polls in two provinces to begin with.
“It has been a consistent pattern over the past year where military and intelligence agency officials are targeted with innuendo and sensational propaganda in pursuit of political goals,” the military said in a rare statement addressed in Khan on Monday evening. He called for the allegations to be dealt with in court.
This is not the first time Khan has made these claims. After a shooting at a rally last year that injured his leg, Khan held back Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, interior minister Rana Sanaullah and responsible senior military officials. They denied any involvement.
Khan’s allegations stem from Pakistan’s own history where no prime minister has served a full five-year term. Many of those who lasted more than two years were exiled or killed, including Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007 during a campaign stop in an attack similar to that on Khan in November.
The military said it reserves the right to take legal action against what it called dishonest statements and propaganda. If the military brings Khan to justice, it would add to the several dozen cases Khan is currently fighting in court, including a case alleging he hid proceeds from a sale of state gifts acquired during its mandate.
Pakistan’s military wields outsized influence in politics as well as foreign and security affairs, having directly governed the nuclear-armed nation for half of its history since its inception in 1947. Most prime ministers have depended support for the army to stay in power, including Khan, but last year an army spokesman said the institution had decided to remain apolitical and operate within the framework of the constitution.
Khan’s attempts to control military promotions have been the root of Pakistan’s longstanding political tensions. In late 2021, Khan publicly opposed the then army chief’s choice to lead the spy agency, expressing support for one of his own allies for him to remain in the role. The army chief was ultimately successful, but the incident sowed the seeds for Khan’s ousting six months later.


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