He recently invited me over for a cup of tea at his residence in Islamabad. I knew Khan for almost 30 years old and I was curious to hear how He sees next scene of his political career. dressed in in casual clothes, he looked fit and alert.
During of our conversation, he admitted that he could not fulfill many of the promises he made after the 2018 elections. He tried to explain the reasons for failures, which he mostly attributed to the restrictions imposed on his power members of parliament who were not under his control. He denied fact that it was installed in office with in help of in military institution. He claimed that last elections were rigged against his. He said that the secret services support independent candidates. who defeated his party candidates: “I formed government with in help of the same independent who were under intelligence control and they betrayed me in the end.”
Khan admitted that he government was very weak and said he relied on intelligence agencies to get his budgets through parliament. He also said he was too addicted on his former military intelligence chief General Faiz Hamid. When Faiz completed his term and was transferred to Peshawar, Khan tried to delay the general post. “That was the beginning,” he told me, noting that from that moment on his relationship with the army was worried.
He explained other reasons behind its differences with in military. “I wanted good connections with China and me took a hard line against USA – but military asked me to be polite to the US.” Surprisingly, he never blamed the US for his fall in the whole conversation. Now he’s trying to manage his connections with Washington, which means cutting back on speak of foreign conspiracies.
Other reason was his hard position against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Khan said that the army leadership asked him not to hit modi below in belt because it could jeopardize backchannel diplomacy. (When I asked the representative of Pakistan Army Major General Babar Iftikhar regarding Khan’s claim, he refuted it, stating that military never stopped him from saying anything about Modi.)
During our conversation, Khan made interesting statements about his visit to Moscow in February, just how invasion of Ukraine fell under way. He said that he made Drive with in full agreement of in military leadership. He had no idea, he said, that the Russians would launch attack on Ukraine during his visit. He told me about his three-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including gas pipeline talks project. “There are misconceptions about Putin,” he said, “but his wife is a Muslim.”
This statement brings up a lot of questions. Putin divorced his first wife Lyudmila many years ago. Maybe Khan was talking about Alina Kabaeva, who was born in half-Muslim family in Uzbekistan. Rumor has it that she is Putin’s girlfriend, but she never was. public an indication that two of they have ever been married.
Khan thanked me for to take a position against torture of his closest assistant Shahbaz Gill. I told him that many journalists and activists faced the same kind of torture when he was prime minister. Khan denied this, saying he never ordered anyone to attack or censor journalists. I reminded him that prime minister he was still responsible for actions of his subordinates, whom he could, at the very least, punish if they committed crimes. Why, for e.g. no action was taken after the shooting of Absar Alam, one of his most outspoken critics in press? To my surprise, he said he didn’t know anything. of Incident.
Finally he said ultimate solution of political crises in Pakistan has early elections. He was clearly sure that everything could change before November. He assured me that he more powerful than Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who Only rules Islamabad, the capital, and he, the Khan, rules over two big provinces, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He knew that he could be disqualified. in dispute over campaign finance, but told me that he was still plans to use his control over these two provincial governments, in order to harm the federal government in in event that he is under arrest. His supporters threaten over Islamabad.
Khan could indeed win. But he playing with fire. Pakistan has already experienced a criminal record and disqualification of meeting prime minister and two federal ministers. My meeting with he made it clear that Khan was taking his situation very lightly. I hope he changes his mind for in good of country.
Pakistan currently facing a national emergency in the form of floods that already taken more over 1000 lives. Is not good time for political campaign.