Imran Khan asks Pakistan's powerful establishment to allow free and transparent elections

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Islamabad, Jul 10 (PTI) Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday yet again asked the powerful establishment to take a step back to let free and transparent elections take place in the country.

“If we want to save the country, the establishment must step back to move towards transparent elections,” Khan said.

In Pakistan, the word ‘establishment’ alludes to the powerful army.

Khan, the 71-year-old founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was informally talking to the journalists after the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust case of alleged corruption against him at the Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi.

He had made a similar demand and levelled almost similar allegations on July 5 in a detailed post from his official X handle.

Khan, who has been lodged at this jail since September last year, also accused the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of “historic” rigging in the February 8 general elections. “Everyone knows the ECP conducted fraudulent elections,” he claimed.

Taking a shot at Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Khan said the top judge of the country was sending his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to the ECP for justice despite knowing that the elections were rigged.

“(US) Congress is saying that fraudulent elections took place in Pakistan,” he said and asked why his party’s petitions on human rights and the February 8 case were not being heard in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Khan, who faces over 200 cases and has been convicted in a few of them, has already claimed the February 8 general elections to have witnessed the ‘Mother of All Rigging’ and called his rivals the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as “mandate thieves.” In the election, both PML-N and PPP individually won fewer seats than 92 won by independent candidates backed by Khan’s PTI. The two parties entered into a post-poll alliance under which the PML-N got the prime minister’s post and the chief ministership of Punjab province while the PPP got the presidential post and the chief ministership in Sindh province.

Khan has also said that the poll rigging and the PML-N-PPP alliance were possible because of the blessings of the powerful military establishment.

On Wednesday, in response to a journalist's question about the establishment's role, Khan said, “The establishment is running the country; the SIFC is running the country.” The Special Investment Facilitation Centre (SIFC) was set up last year as a high level body of top military and civilian officials to take decisions on economic issues to facilitate investment in the country.

Talking about the economy he said that debt increased from Rs 2.8 trillion to Rs 8 to 9 trillion in the last four years. “The current government has destroyed Pakistan's hope; no one trusts this government anymore,” he said and blamed the elite for stashing their wealth abroad.

Khan also criticised the trial of civilians in the military courts as he questioned, “In which democracy do civilians get tried in military courts?” When asked about his threat to go on a hunger strike, he said, “I will definitely go on a hunger strike; I am waiting for some decisions.” Meanwhile, Khan has informed the Supreme Court that the issue of amendments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordinance is not about himself but in fact, relates to the whole of the country.

"This was not about personal gain but the greater good of our country and millions of Pakistanis who place their faith in a system that should serve them," Khan said in his written submission to the apex court.

Khan said this while referring to a previous apex court order, Geo News reported on Wednesday.

The PTI founder's submission comes as the Supreme Court, last month, reserved its verdict on the federal and provincial governments' pleas challenging the apex court's September 15 majority 2-1 judgement, which was announced by a bench led by former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial.

In 2022, the Pakistan Democratic Movement government led by the PML-N made amendments to the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance which were challenged by Khan in the top court. PTI SH NPK AKJ NPK NPK

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