Imran Khan’s Downfall: Why is the former Prime Minister Facing Arrest?

Imran Khan was removed from office after 174 members voted against him in parliament and now the situation has escalated to a point that Police raided his residence to issue an arrest warrant.

After many years of constant struggle, Imran Khan succeeded in Ousting two fiercely competitive parties in 2018 that had long ruled the nation’s politics and fate.

A national hero from his cricketing days, Khan changed the course of his career and became a  charismatic leader and politician. He emerged as a Fresh force with vibrant rallies and campaigns along with a huge social media presence who amplified his vigorous anti-corruption message.

His main focus revolved around addressing corruption,Improving economy and promoting human rights. He pursued a more independent foreign policy seeking closer ties with countries like China, Russia while also pursuing to improve relations with India and Afghanistan.He came to power with the ambition of creating a new Pakistan.

Imran Khan’s position seemed so secure at first, it looked as if he would be the first Prime Minister to complete a full five year parliamentary tenure. The reason for his secure position in the beginning also explains his downfall. It is widely acknowledged that he came into power with the help of Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence services and him losing it is a major fall out with them.

The Pakistan’s military and army undoubtedly played a crucial role in stabilizing the country by ensuring its integrity and promoting nation-building and Imran Khan and his Cabinet ministers were often seen emphasizing on the point that PTI government and Army Leadership were on the same page in terms of ruling the country , but the relationship became strained because of Khan’s Hardline anti-west Foreign Policy.

Imran Khan’s ill-timed visit to Moscow had just taken place days before the no-confidence motion on April 9. Khan not only ignored the calls from Washington to cancel the trip but also umbranged the open letter from emissaries of the European Union when Pakistan was asked to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine at the UN General Assembly. He made a provoking statement “Are we your slaves” at a public Meeting.

The European Union is Pakistan’s largest trading partner and a major source of much needed assistance for the country’s faltering economy, such statements fueled up tensions between both parties given the ongoing situation in the country.

Imran Khan publicly announced that ousting him is a foreign conspiracy, such accusations of Khan towards the US and his pro Russian agenda seemingly did not sit very well with the PTI government and military.

Imran Khan undoubtedly had significant and genuine public support in 2018 as he remains the most popular leader among the wide population of the country till date. He focused on improving governance and the impressive expansion he has made to the social welfare system, for example introducing a health insurance scheme in large parts of the country fostered immense support.

However in some other major areas he has faltered. His decision to appoint an inexperienced and under qualified political newcomer as Chief Minister of Punjab received backlash and overwhelming criticism.

There were other challenges too. Khan’s popularity gradually eroded because the cost of living in Pakistan has been rocketing up with sharp rises in food prices and rupee constantly falling against the dollar.

Imran Khan has always faced criticism from opposition parties since the beginning of his tenure, They have constantly accused his government of authoritarianism and of curtailing press freedom and human rights and had long resisted his government and his policies.Apart from this shared belief the two major opposition parties PPP and PMLN shared opposing thoughts about ways to attack Khan’s Government. His ill-timed decisions turned the situation into an opportunity for opposition at that time .

While PPP would call for a no-trust vote in the federal Parliament against Khan at the same time, PMLN would temporize, opting at times to resign from the legislature and protesting in various streets of Pakistan.

It seems that Khan’s Government itself has strengthened his rivals to come together by targeting their top leadership, through the cases they had in the National Accountability Bureau. To achieve the common goal of ousting Imran Khan from Prime Minister through constitutional means , PMLN and PPP formed an alliance in which they also included the joint opposition Fazul-Rehman’s Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam and other smaller parties to threaten his survival in the office.

At this point Khan knew what was coming next for him, so he acted unconstitutionally in blocking the process and dissolving parliaments.However Supreme Court ruled that the blocking of the vote was unconstitutional . And it ordered the no -confidence motion to take place on 9 April 2022.

As a result the no confidence motion which required 172 votes in 342-seat parliament to pass was supported by 174 politicians and Imran Khan was ousted from his office as Prime MInister of Pakistan.

Since his removal In April 2022, the PTI claims that Khan has been charged in 85 cases,including sedition,corruption,and terrorism.Khan has denied all these charges and accusations brought against him.

What are the Charges Against Imran Khan?

Corruption Charges

Imran khan has been accused of corruption and illegally selling $2m unique antique watch,gold pen,ring and cufflinks given to him by the Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman.

One of the members of the ruling party PMLN has filed a case against Mr Khan contending that he has failed to disclose the assets in declarations submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In response Khan stated that all these accusations are part of a campaign to malign him.

The sale of state gifts by Khan (known as ToshaKhana Issue) became a national political scandal, and the Election Commision of Pakistan suspended Khan from existing parliament accusing him of corrupt practices.

Imran Khan’s legal team rejected the commission’s decision and has challenged the disqualification verdict in Islamabad High Court.

Terrorism Charges

Another high profile case Khan was charged with “terrorism” by the police , a day after thousands of PTI supporters clashed with security forces , Dozens of party workers and senior leaders have been named for allegedly committing terrorism.

Why is Imran Khan Facing Arrest?

The ruling party claims that Imran Khan has 85 pending cases with charges against him ranging from corruption,terrorism to accepting illegal funds and he needs to summon himself in front of the court to address the cases filed against him. Khan decries the arrest attempt and claims that the authorities want to stop his party from taking part in the forthcoming elections.

Government Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the move had nothing to do with the elections and they are only complying with the court orders to arrest Khan over corruption charges.

The Police authorities have been trying to force Imran Khan out of his house as there was a tense situation outside his compound in the city of Lahore as officers fired tear gas shells to disperse supporters of Mr Khan.

The government authorities have been diligent to arrest Mr Khan but it has still not been possible because he has garnered enormous public support and sympathy as a result of these recent events.

Imran Khan is Ousted but not Defeated

Since Imran Khan’s dismissal , a large population of the public have rallied behind the former cricket legend , Khan’s anti corruption message and promises of reform have resonated with many Pakistanis especially the youth. His emphasis on the need for greater social justice including poverty and improving access to education and healthcare has translated into effective policy,while gaining popular support from people. Mr Khan is no longer the Prime Minister of Pakistan , but the majority of the country still continues to back his message of reform and anti-corruption.

Maliha Baig
Maliha Baig
My name is Maliha Baig. Currently Iam pursuing my degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from National Defence University Islamabad.