ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan has said the establishment’s hostility against him stemmed from his introduction of an independent foreign policy which was not liked by establishments.
The imprisoned former prime minister made this statement, during a virtual convention, in an audio speech that was generated using artificial intelligence and it resembled his voice. The PTI founder is said to have dictated the speech’s notes to the visiting staff in prison.
Imran Khan said Pakistan was embroiled in unprecedented internal conflict. He said the entire state machinery was bending the law and the Constitution of Pakistan just to keep him and his party out of the electoral process.
“They have made a mockery of the law and destroyed not just the political, but the moral fabric of our society. It started when the establishment became agitated with my push for an independent foreign policy,” he claimed.
The former PM said he was categorical that he would be a friend to all but would not be anyone’s proxy for wars. “I did not come to this view lightly. It was shaped by the huge losses Pakistan had incurred collaborating with America’s war on terror, not least the 80,000 Pakistani lives lost,” he said.
He said ever since his removal, several crackdowns had been made on his party workers and leadership. The most brutal crackdown, he said started after the “false flag operation” of May 9, 2023. “There were over 200 cases on him and he had been incarcerated for over 180 days.”
Khan said even women workers were jailed, most of whom were mothers and housewives. Such scale and nature of the state’s attack on women had never been seen in Pakistan, he maintained. Under the grand scheme hatched in London, he and his party were to be kept out of the electoral process, he said.
He rued over snatching of his party’s electoral symbol saying the continued political disturbance in the country had ruined the economy and alienated the country regionally.
“When all else backfired, now through a botched judicial process, our election symbol has also been taken away, leaving our candidates to run as independents under hundreds of different symbols. This continued political disturbance in our country has wrecked the economy and alienated our regional friends. During my time, we devised a foreign policy based on regional economic connectivity. We were aggressively pursuing this vision via reaching out CIS states, Russia, and renewed relationship with China,” he said.
Int’l day against Islamophobia
In the AI-generated speech, the former PM said his government offered facilitation to bring Iran and Yemen closer to Saudi Arabia. Whereas, in his UN General Assembly speech, he explained to the world the importance of Prophet Mohammed (SAWW), peace be upon him, for Muslim Ummah and helped introduce the UN General Assembly Resolution that had established 15th March as an international day against Islamophobia.
Khan, who was ousted from power in April last year via the opposition’s no-confidence motion, said his government had facilitated Doha talks for a peaceful exit of US forces from Afghanistan.
However, he said due to the sudden fall of Ghani regime, things quickly deteriorated and the withdrawal was marred by chaos.
“I am told that at a certain level, the Biden administration blames me for the messy US withdrawal, but this is far from the truth. Our government policy vision was regional economic connectivity. I extended my friendship hand to India in the very first speech after winning the elections, but at every point, RSS -led Modi regime shut us down,” he said.
Kashmir cornerstone of Foreign Policy
The PTI founder said after the illegal alteration of the status of Jammu and Kashmir and its transformation into the world’s largest open prison by a belligerent Modi regime, it was clear that their intention was not normalisation.
“Kashmir is a cornerstone of our foreign policy, and we took a firm and principled stand on this issue despite the challenges. Despite pressures, Pakistan went ahead with withdrawal of the ambassador to New Delhi, relaying a clear message that normalisation of relations was contingent upon peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute,” he said.
On how Pakistan could fare well from now onwards, he said Pakistan needed a strong “truly representative democratic government, and a democratic framework governed by rule of law and our constitution”.
Imran Khan said he would like to call on all who believed in democracy and peace to stand by them and speak out against the present massacre of democracy and rule of law being carried out in Pakistan.
He began his speech by highlighting Israel’s brutal assault on the people of Gaza. “With Israel’s brutal assault on the people of Gaza, slaughtering of thousands of children, women, journalists, doctors, effectively a genocide of the Palestinians, disturbance in international maritime waters, and continued war in Ukraine, the world is heading towards a grave international crisis,” he said.