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Pakistan’s ex-PM Imran Khan crosses another Red Line—seeks international sanctions against military

Pakistan's ex-PM Imran Khan is seeking US sanctions against military

Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan has crossed another red line by seeking support from the United States to impose sanctions on the military alleging violation of human rights.

The accusations of rights violations follow the crackdown on leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party that Khan heads, as well as foot soldiers, after the May 9 revolt which targeted key military institutions including the military General Headquarters (GHQ) and Jinnah House, the Lahore corps commander’s residence.

Sajid Burki, Khan’s uber loyalist in the US, has posted a video with Congressman Greg Casar on Twitter. In the video, Burki and the host, Tariq Majeed, are seen in animated conversation with the Congressman, exhorting him to impose sanctions on the Pakistan military on account of its human rights violations.

More specifically, the tweet urges the congressman to co-sponsor of a bill “to tie military aid to human rights conditions in a country”.

Part of the conversation in the video among the three characters is about utilizing US aid for the “promotion of democracy in other countries”.

The Pakistani daily News International is reporting that while seeking Casar’s support, Burki claimed that 86 members of the US Congress had already signed PTI’s petition for sanctions.  “You should be able to count on me to be somebody who is asking questions about how the US could be supporting democracy and human rights in Pakistan and other places,” the Congressman was quoted as saying in response.

Incidentally following May 9 attacks, the Pakistani-American Political Action Committee (PAKPAC) launched a campaign to lobby 60 US congressmen for approaching US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pressurise the Pakistani government on grounds of human rights violations.

Pakistani analysts cite three reasons explaining why the ex-Prime Minister is taking on the powerful military head on.

Pakistani commentator Syed Imran Shafqat cited a meeting with the ex-Prime Minister’s confidante who said that Khan still believed that a mutiny in the military against Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Asim Munir will take place that will reverse the tide against him. The insider said he was worried as the ex-PM seemed to be in delusion about his fate.


Second, the Imran Khan who has support within ex-servicemen and their families is gaining the impression of that these individuals will negotiate a deal with the military. But if push comes to shove, Khan believes that there is a critical mass within the military that backs him—a situation that will bring him back to power.

Third, there is the Bushra Bibi factor that gives Khan belief that he will make a comeback. Apparently, Khan’s third wife believes that supernatural powers are behind her husband, making him virtually invincible in his confrontation with the military. Insiders say that the ex-PM believes that the turnaround in the situation will come about within “weeks”.

Given his mindset, it is not surprising that Khan is in full confrontation mode with the Army Chief Asim Munir. In an interview with Reuters, Khan speculated saying, “I think that maybe he has a grudge because I asked him (Gen Munir) to resign” as ISI chief. The incumbent Army Chief was the head of the spy agency ISI before Khan removed him from the post.

Also Read: When Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza thwarted the May 9 rebellion in Pakistan