Imran Khan had allegedly given specific directions in case of his arrest to target pre-selected venues/places
Former Pakistan´s Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he speaks during an interview with AFP at his residence in Lahore on May 18, 2023. —AFP
ISLAMABAD: The government has been informed by an intelligence agency what unfolded on the 9th and 10th of May was conceived and planned with the involvement of Imran Khan much before the actual day of the event.
The report said that most of the PTI leaders were not aware of the alleged “plan”, which was kept secret and only a few trusted loyalists (named in the report) knew about it and were the conduit to pass Imran Khan’s instructions to party cadres.
The intelligence agency, while quoting its sources within the PTI, alleged that IK had given specific directions in case of his arrest to target pre-selected venues/places. On 9th May, Murad Saeed communicated the same to party leaders through his tweets and directed that protests at the designated places be started.
Imran Khan has repeatedly distanced himself and his party from the May 9 attacks. Instead, he insisted that the PTI has a history of peaceful protests and accused the agencies of being behind the destruction caused to pave the way to ban the PTI. Imran Khan also demanded an independent inquiry to ascertain the facts behind the events of May 9. The News contacted PTI’s spokesperson Sadaqat Ali Abbasi for his views on the intelligence agency’s report. Abbasi categorically denied that the May 9 attacks were pre-planned or there was any such instruction from Imran Khan. He said that being the key PTI leader of the Rawalpindi region, no such direction was ever passed to him and for the same reason he led a peaceful protest in front of the Rawalpindi Press Club at Liaquat Bagh.
On the other side, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already named Imran Khan for instigating his followers to create the May 9 mayhem.
Intelligence reports, while discussing the May 9-10 events, talked about the closeness of Asad Umar, Murad Saeed and Azam Swati with Imran Khan besides reflecting on the role of Dr Yasmin Rashid, Hammad Azhar and Awn Abbas Buppi in Punjab, Murad Saeed and Omar Ayub in KP, Ali Zaidi in Sindh, Ali Nawaz Awan in Islamabad and Qasim Suri in Balochistan.
According to the intelligence agency, since his ouster from power, Imran Khan tried to build an aggressive but false narrative based on multiple conspiracy theories ranging from international collusion to oust him from power to his murder plots hatched by the country’s intelligence agencies. It added that Khan instilled so much hatred in his followers that they openly started to berate the military and its senior leadership, particularly on different social media platforms. This was the starting point of Imran Khan’s calculated move of pitting the masses against their own army, says the intelligence agency report.
The security agency underlines that through his sustained provocative speeches and statements, Imran Khan “thoughtfully attempted” to scandalise senior army officers, including the Chief of Army Staff, DG ISI and DG-C, and in some cases even by name.
The agency also disclosed that Imran Khan had become so desperate that in a meeting to review the performance of PTI Rawalpindi Chapter on holding the 6th May rally, he harshly admonished the concerned chapter for ending their rally at Marir Chowk instead of taking it to Katchehri Chowk (in the close vicinity of the Army House) within the limits of Cantonment area.
The agency reports that as Khan knew well that majority of the party’s first and second tier leadership may not resort to violent protest in case of his arrest, he devised a mechanism to communicate directly with his trusted hardline loyalists, including members of Imran Tigers and ISF activists through different online applications like Raabta App and imrantiger.com.
It was also reported that Imran Khan prepared the party organisation even up to Union Council level to enhance the party’s capacity to mobilize workers at a very short notice. He used to take oath of allegiance from his supporters to stand with him and follow his directions in all circumstances.
Imran Khan expected that masses would join violent protests in a large number. He was made to believe by some of his advisers that total chaos will ensue in the country and the government, including the military leadership, will bow to its knees, enabling him to dictate his own terms.
He was probably emboldened by the restraint shown by the military leadership and miscalculated that the army had become too weak to sustain his pressure. He was also given the impression that as the masses gathered in/around military installations, some implosion from within the institution would take place.
The intelligence agency also discussed international dimension to it. It said that some mouthpieces of the West like Zalmay Khalilzad (USA) with his known connections with the US deep state have been campaigning for IK. Some independent observers, having a keen eye on the ongoing developments, see some scheme in the manner IMF has been dealing with Pakistan over the past few months, the agency reported to the government, adding that it seems that some international powers wanted Pakistan to default in a bid to perpetuate the crisis in the country.