Turmoil In Pakistan: Is China Winning? - Part 4

"Whether Imran Khan is 'In or Out' might not be the last chapter in the battle for Pakistan between China and Pakistan. China’s upper hand, at the moment, does not mean that USA has lost." Opines Col. Rajinder Kushwaha

Turmoil In Pakistan: Is China Winning? - Part 4

Events in Pakistan are moving at a fast paced speed. What happened on 09 May 2023, post PTI - supremo, Imran Khan’s arrest, is a clear indication of the upper hand being enjoyed by General Saeed Asim Munir. Mayhem of 09 May 2023, by PTI workers is turning out to be a 'death knell' of PTI politics. Despite, Supreme Court (SC) shelter and favours, Imran Khan seems to be on the losing side.

If Imran Khan gets neutralised, then China’s man - Friday, General Asim Munir would ensure Pakistan’s tilt towards China, a clear sign of impending victory for China and USA facing a likely defeat . Nothing can be said with certainty now because it is going to be a long drawn battle. It is interesting to read between the lines of unfolding events, before coming to any conclusion.

Army, led by, General Munir has announced that attack on Army institutions, whether Corps Commander’s house in Lahore or GHQ in Islamabad, was the result of a well - chalked out plan. As far as Army was concerned, it was an act of 'terrorism' and  no different from acts of terrorist outfit TTP (Tehreek- e- Taliban of Pakistan). Therefore, those people who planned, facilitated and carried out these attacks, were nothing less than 'Terrorists', whether it was a low level PTI worker or its Chairman, Imran Khan.

A special Corps Commanders conference, the highest decision making body of Pakistan Army, on 16 May 2023, decided to proceed against these perpetrators of terror under the Army Act and official Act. The federal Government of Shehbaj Sharif, in Security council meeting of 17 May 2023, has given its sanction for military trials, which is a mandatory requirement under the law. Obviously, it will be carried out in a military court. If persons found guilty by the military court, the sentence might vary from 'death' to 'life time' incarceration in Jail. It is alleged that some 5000-7500 PTI workers have been arrested, who could be tried under this act.

Imran Khan, too, faces this prospect. His residence at Zaman Park in Lahore has been under the siege since afternoon of 17 May 2023. It is alleged by authorities that some 30-40 such 'terrorists' were hiding in the Zaman Park residence of Imran Khan. An ultimatum of 24 hours was given by Amer Mir, Information Minister of caretaker Government of Punjab, to handover these people to authorities. If it was not done then, police might act to raid the residence.

It might be a ploy by the government to arrest Imran Khan. If he was arrested, Imran Khan will face court martial under the army act, with the likely prospects of a 'death sentence' or 'life time' jail. There are precedences in Pakistan history that when it decides to act, it can hang a Prime Minister like ZA Bhutto; Remove and jail him through judicial coup like Nawaz Sharif.

There is no big deal and Imran Khan’s charisma was only a social media hype, through his pain 'youth brigade' of social media. In a population of around 230 million of Pakistan, only 5000-7000 were hard core. All his other silent supporters have begun to doubt his intentions. Some have left him and some others are contemplating.

When police laid a siege of his residence on 17 May Imran Khan made a speech to people of Pakistan, denying all charges of pre-planned actions. In fact, he accused establishment of infiltrating his workers and carrying out acts of vandalism. He also tweeted to say that the said speech could be his last. He knows the consequences of a military court martial.

According to Saeed Imran Shafqat, a reputed and a most reliable journalist, as well as a V- Logger of Pakistan, who anchors his V- Log 'Tellings', Pakistan Army had sent a proposal to Imran Khan the other day. The proposal had offered Imran Khan to leave Pakistan with his wife with some essential items, if he wants to avoid court martial.

A private plane of a business man was kept available. However, this offer had certain strings tied to it. He was asked to give an undertaking to live a low life and not to say or do anything to harm Pakistan. But there has to be guarantee given by a reliable person or organisation/ establishment.

It is not known whether Imran Khan has accepted this offer or not. But the tone and tenor of his last speech indicates he was shaken and stunned. He was pleading to Army Chief that he was being misled by PDM politicians. He was giving assurances to him that he would not sack him , if he came to power after elections. He wanted army to have election conducted at the earliest, obviously before September 2023. It seems Army Chief was not prepared to oblige him and Imran Khan had reconciled to leave. This is why he had probably called his speech as 'Last'.

It is alleged by Saeed Imran Shafqat that the businessman behind this proposal by the army was Malik Riyaz, the man responsible for Imran Khan getting into this trouble . It is alleged that Malik Riyaz was involved in some corrupt practices in Britain and he was fined by British courts. However, British Government returned some 190 Million GBP to Pakistan Government as paid by Malik Riyaz.

This money was to go to  SC but Imran Khan as Prime Minister clandestinely gave it back to Malik Riyaz, who in turn gave some 460 Kanals of free - hold land to Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi for Al Qadir trust. It was this case of corruption, which led to Imran’s arrest in 09 May 2023.

Malik Riyaz’s interest lay in getting Imran Khan out of the country , so as to let Al - qadir trust case die its natural death. But here is a twist given by V- Logger Imran Shafqat that move to get Imran Khan out of the country was led by Jimena Khan, London based first  wife of Imran Khan. She is the custodian of Imran’s two sons and his daughter from Sita White.

Jimena Khan Goldsmith belongs to a wealthy Jewish family of England with considerable political clout. It is through her that a Guarantee from British Government is being sought to keep Imran Khan under check, when he lives in exile there. It is same thing as was the case of Nawaz Sharif in 1999, when Saudi Arabia gave him the asylum and ensured his political silence.

There are no indications as yet if Imran has agreed to move out, other than his claim of a 'last speech'. Maverick and a mercurial person as he is, he might change his mind and decide to stay put and face the music. It all depends on USA, as to how much it is  prepared to let things drift in favour of China. Its muted silence might be readying Pakistan military for a yet another storm.

There is no doubt that USA has definite links within Pakistan armed forces. Thus, whether Imran Khan is 'In or Out' might not be the last chapter in the battle for Pakistan between China and Pakistan. China’s upper hand, at the moment, does not mean that USA has lost. Unfortunately, whoever wins, China or USA, the loser is Pakistan as it stands sliced at the middle. Instability in Pakistan is a long time affair, which India needs to worry about. Disturbed conditions in Pakistan can lead to problems in Kashmir. To divert public attention from domestic chaos, Pak army can enhance terrorist activities. Enhanced activities of Jihadi groups must not be seen in terms of forthcoming G-20 Meeting but as in overall context. Therefore, any notions of reducing army presence in Kashmir valley ought to be shunned. Such a step is only possible if Pakistan denounces 'terrorism as a state policy' genuinely and there does not seem to be any such possibility in near future - particularly when anti - India emotions make Pak public unite. Kashmir has been their Jugular vein since 1947. And current crisis in Pakistan do not recommend such a move. It was a big blunder, which happened, when India's TSD (Technical Support Division) was disbanded.

(Col. Rajinder Kushwaha is an ex-NDA, commissioned into 3 Bihar. He is a battle-hardened veteran who served in  ’71 War & has operated extensively in various insurgency environs across the country. He is a renowned author, and a highly respected defence & national security expert writing for several reputed publications such as  ‘Defence and Security Alert’ (DSA), the ‘Indian Defence Review’ (IDR) among others. You can reach him on Twitter: @RajeeKushwaha, Email ID: [email protected])

(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')

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