The repression occurred at a controversial and uncertain moment for country and its leaders. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who took office in April, has made small progress in overcoming the severe economic crisis that caused a rapid rise in consumer prices. Khan, on the contrary, gained momentum in local elections and continues lead big noisy rallies at which he criticizes government.
Armed forces that pledged to stay out of political feud, caught in middle. current commander-in-chief of the army – considered the most powerful human in Pakistan – should retire in three months and the replacement process caused a storm of rumors and criticism. The image of the army has also fall under attack, especially among Khan’s supporters on social media.
A little made scathing comments online about fatal crash of a military helicopter on 1 August when it was delivering humanitarian aid flood- devastated region. The posts elicited a rare emotional reaction from military officials, who said the commentators dishonored the victims and caused “suffering and sorrow” to their families.
Comments of Khan’s aide Shahbaz Gill on ARY, the most openly pro-Khan broadcaster, struck a chord. In indirect challenge to military discipline, he encouraged Pakistan military personnel to follow their conscience, not orders. “When you receive an order, you need to know your values and you should be on right side,” he said. “You are not crazy and you are not an animal.”
government the response was fast. The Home Office has revoked ARY’s security clearance, and the Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has revoked it. operating license charging station of “false hateful and rebellious content”. Then the officials cut off this is broadcast signal muting one of most popular in pakistan news channels. BUT senior government officialPlanning Minister Ehsan Iqbal said Khan was “plotting to split up” the Pakistani army.
Gill was arrested for days until the judge ordered that he be transferred to the hospital for medical reasons. Finally carried it out on stretcher after a dramatic three-hour standoff outside in prison a gateway between two police departments that both have claimed jurisdiction. His lawyer Salman Safdar said he was tortured.”in his private parts” while in detention, the allegation that Pakistan defense minister denied.
BUT senior vice president of ARY was arrested in home and charged with mutiny, as did several other employees. One of two emcees who fled the country, Sabir Shakir tweeted that he left “not under compulsion, but for the sake of saving the institution that I love, and my colleagues from all harm.”
Both Pakistani and international media organizations condemned the appeal of Gill and ERI. The Dawn newspaper, an influential Englishlanguage daily warned that repression “could set dangerous precedent” and said that, by overreacting, government “gave ammunition” to Khan and his party.
“Let’s not be fooled,” said Daniel Bastard, spokesman for Asia Pacific. director for Reporters Without Borders. Although Sharif government should be held accountable, he said, “this military what interferes behind scenes to subdue Pakistani journalists. … rule of the credibility of the law is at stake.”
Repression intensified as Khan’s political power grew. Although he was once considered close to military establishment, analysts say former cricket star now viewed by the military as an unreliable populist, while Sharif and his government regarded as more cooperative members of Pakistani establishment.
” battle the lines were drawn and the press was shrinking in between,” said Ayaz Amir, veteran newspaper columnist and former liberal legislator. He has also faced intimidation for frank public Comments; in July he said he was pulled out of his car and beaten unknown attackers after performance in Lahore.
“There is no consistent policy against in mediabut the sensitivity has increased,” Amir said. “Now the taboo is Imran Khan. If you mention or praise him, you are under suspicion.”
Sharif and Khan put on a contrast show on Saturday. events in honor of Pakistan Independence Day. Sharif addressed the nation on TV, dressed in discreet green suit and tie, and invited Han join his in find path to economic recovery.
Khan led a noisy nighttime rally in crowded hockey stadium where he advertised new path to “real freedom” and condemned the “conspiracy” of Sharif government to force his out of politics charging it with illegal attraction of funds from foreign sources, including India.
In a tweet on On Sunday, Khan warned the nation of “unprecedented suppression campaign imported government and the state apparatus against journalists and media outlets aligned with his party. “If we allow these terror tactics to succeed we’ll return to the dark days of dictatorship,” he said.
governments defense minister Khawaja Asif, denounced the “negativity” social media campaign against armed forces as an “association project’ and ‘smear campaign» from Khan party and Indian government against pakistani army.
Asif said he was 18 social media Accounts supporting Khan was found in India and that the ex-premier is working to “protect and promote” interests of India, which fought three wars with Pakistan and remains this is main enemy.