Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, was released on Thursday by the Supreme Court after spending 48 hours in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) detention following a dramatic arrest on Tuesday. Imran Khan must be released immediately, according to the Pakistani Supreme Court, which deemed his arrest to be “unlawful” and “illegal.” However, insiders in government agencies and think tanks believe that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader’s future is gloomy and that his party’s days are numbered.
Imran Khan has taken an offensive stance against the new military establishment, making serious accusations of conspiracy, organizing assassination attempts against him, and working with the current coalition government to restrict Imran Khan and his political movement, the PTI, from exercising their right to free speech.
Reliable sources claim that he has gotten into difficulty for defying the army, which is why his days are numbered. His arch rival adversaries in the political and military establishment will now determine his political future, public perception, and party’s political existence.
“Imran Khan only strength and power is the popularity he enjoys among the masses. His party leadership on his right and left have never been allowed to come even to become a secondary authority in the party. Today, this has proven to be his weakness as he now sits alone at the behest of his archrivals and awaits his fate,” Javed Siddique, a senior political analyst told news agency. Sources believe that a plan is in place to put an end to Imran Khan’s political uproar and his party’s existence.
“They (establishment) have had enough of Imran Khan’s nuisance. They don’t want him dead. But they also do not want to repeat the same mistake twice. Imran Khan is not in the good books of the quarters anymore. And he has only himself to blame,” a source told.
In the past, the government attempted to use the “Minus-1” formula to eliminate Khan from the political race and reduce PTI to a minor political force. The strategy has since been altered, though.
According to insiders, the new strategy is to undermine the party’s primary leadership while leaving Imran Khan by himself and without a staff to support his political party.
“PTI minus Imran Khan was attempted… that backfired. Now what you see is that Imran Khan has being left alone, with no support, no leadership and no team. This, coupled with him witnessing his worst nightmare of being kept under custody for 48 hours, may just be enough to show him the mirror that he is one man, one individual, and this country is much much bigger than him”, a source told.
Close advisors of Imran Khan are currently incarcerated and will be for at least 14 days, if not longer. Khan, who is also being watched closely, might not be able to quickly resolve the more than 150 cases brought against him. He will have to accept the fact that he is being brought before the courts by himself and is being protected by the same powers that he believes are out to kill him.
“This plan seems to be in place and both the establishment and the government seem to be on board in this regard,” the source said.
“One cannot kill the public support of Imran Khan but can surely trim down his feathers, his tone, his narrative and use his physical presence to keep his emotional supporters calm as well,” the source added.
Another strategy to weaken Khan’s political party PTI or at the very least get his name removed from the party affiliation is also being considered. According Pakistani sources, Imran Khan will be removed from his position as party leader by legal means. This would put an end to Khan’s political career and bring other corruption cases against him to trial.
“Toshakhana case and Al-Qadir trust case are two major cases in which Imran Khan can be disqualified. Other cases include terrorism cases, incitement to violence cases and now the attack and looting case of core commander residence may be the ones, which may see him sent to jail also,” a source revealed.
Whatever the case may be, it appears clear that the establishment and government are in agreement about how to handle Imran Khan and want to lessen his status and political power.