Imran Khan likens Pakistan’s current situation to 1971

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 14-05-2023
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan


New Delhi

In what may cause further discomfort to the Pakistani government and establishment, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has likened the situation obtaining in Pakistan since his arrest and the latest release to the one in East Pakistan in 1971 that led to the vivisection of the country and formation of Bangladesh.

In his latest address telecast by TV channels live and posted on YouTube, Khan said, the atrocities that were being committed on people since his arrest reminds him of a similar situation in East Pakistan in 1971, where the press was directed to not report the events.

The President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) said in March 1971, he had gone to East Pakistan to play the under -19 cricket and he was witness to the “Utter hate people had for Pakistan.” He said he flew out of east Pakistan,  and his plane was the last one to over out of the former Pakistani territory.

He said a similar kind of barbarism was let loose by the Pakistani army on people there while the Media was directed not to report anything, as it is happening today. “I then left for England to study and there I knew what had happened to East Pakistan that became Bangladesh.”

Blaming the Pakistani Army for obfuscation of realities and keeping Pakistani in the dark about the events of today that led to the division of Pakistan in 1971, Khan said not only the elected leader (Sheikh Mujibur Rehman of the then Awami League) who won the elections was not allowed to assume responsibility but the Hamudur Rehman commission report on the fall of Dhaka commissioned by the Pakistan government was also never made public.

The report, he said, was published in India after 25 years for the world to know about the reality of Pakistan’s army while the country is still in denial mode about the massacre of millions of Bengali-speaking Pakistanis by the Army.

“Then also a group of men held closed door discussions about the crucial events and the aftermath of the disastrous events and never allowed the countrymen to know the full chain of events.”

He asked Pakistani people to ponder why the world is ahead of them. He said Pakistan's financial woes will not be addressed by the IMF or friendly nations but the overseas Pakistani.

He accused the government of implicating him in 145 bogus cases and distanced himself from violent protests that rocked Lahore, Islamabad, and other cities after his arrest and claimed: “PTI had an unblemished record of peaceful protests for injustice.”

Imran Khan also hit out at the Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry and told him to form a party

This comes after DG ISPR called Imran a hypocrite and alleged that no one else harmed the army to the extent that he did.

"You (DG ISPR) have jumped into politics. Make your party," Imran said in his address to the nation on Saturday.

"Who are you to give statements ISPR? You have climbed through the wall and have been involved, you should really make a political party and not make such statements" Imran Khan added.

Imran also said that he was upholding Pakistan's flag internationally and used it to represent the country.

"ISPR sahab, at the time when you were not born, I was the one who was upholding Pakistan's flag internationally and used to represent the country. Look up my name", the former Pakistan PM said while responding to the ISPR statement.

"ISPR sahab, when Abbottabad happened, even the Army chief did not speak, he kept quiet. For 5 days nobody spoke, They[Americans] came and killed Osama Bin Laden, Gilani and Zardari did not speak. I was the one speaking and defending my military", said Imran Khan in his address.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, has termed the events that unfolded on May 9 as a "black chapter" in the country's history, the day Imran Khan was arrested by Rangers outside the Islamabad High Court that led to countrywide violence by PTI supporters.

In a strongly-worded statement, the military's media wing asserted that no one will be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Citing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) statement and law, the ISPR justified the arrest of Imran Khan.

The ISPR criticised the protesters and termed their actions as an attempt to manipulate the country's sentiments for their own limited and selfish objectives. The military wing said, "This is an example of hypocrisy. It stressed the importance of maintaining law and order and highlighted the need to respect the institutions of Pakistan."

"I had an assassination attempt, as ex-Prime Minister I could not even get an FIR registered and there we had ISPR giving sermons on how I am lying. I ask who are you to say this to me, you should be ashamed for saying this", said Imran Khan in his address.

Imran also suggested that nobody can forcefully eliminate a political party and put them in jail. "You won't listen to me but my suggestion for you is to come out of small, closed rooms and keep a big circle and see how can you save the country from destruction," said Imran Khan.

He also said that democracy in Pakistan is hanging by a thread and added that the judiciary can only save the democracy in Pakistan.

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Notably, Imran Khan's speech was not broadcast on any of the major television channels, despite a court order suspending a recent Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ban on the broadcast of his speeches.