ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army has criticized former Prime Minister Imran Khan for accusing a senior of his of orchestrating assassination attempts against him and the former cricket star has challenged the handling of the matter in court.
Khan, 70, used a rally over the weekend to accuse the military of being behind at least two attempts to kill him, focusing on the alleged involvement of a senior official from the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which oversees Pakistan’s internal security.
The politician is moving to hold snap elections after being ousted in April 2022 in a vote of no confidence. Emboldened by strong support in opinion polls and caucuses, Khan is showing no signs of backing away from the government and military and is seeking support from the Supreme Court to hold elections in two provinces as a start.
“This has been a consistent pattern in the past year as army officials and intelligence agencies have been targeted with sensational insinuations and propaganda to advance political goals,” the military said in a rare statement addressed to Khan late Monday. She demanded that the allegations be dealt with in court.
This is not the first time Khan has made these allegations. After a shooting incident at a rally last year left him injured in the leg, Khan detained Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as the home minister. Rana Sanallah and senior military officials responsible. They have denied their involvement.
Khan’s allegations stem from Pakistan’s history where no prime minister has served a full five-year term. Many of those who lasted more than two years were either exiled or killed, including Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007 during a campaign pause in an attack similar to the attack on Khan in November.
The army said it reserves the right to take legal action against what it described as offensive statements and propaganda. If the army brings Khan to court, it would add to the dozens of cases Khan is currently fighting in court, including one alleging he hid profits from selling government gifts he earned during his time in office.
Pakistan’s military holds enormous influence over politics as well as foreign and security affairs, having ruled the nuclear-armed country for half of its history since its inception in 1947. Most prime ministers have relied on the army’s support to stay in power, including Khan, but a military spokesperson said last year The institution has decided to remain apolitical and operate within the constitution.
Khan’s attempts to control military promotions have been at the root of longstanding political tensions in Pakistan. In late 2021, Khan publicly opposed the then army chief’s selection to lead the spy agency, expressing support for one of his allies remaining in the post. Eventually the army chief got his way, but the incident sowed the seeds for the Khan’s ouster six months later.


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