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In Pakistan it seems there are only two ways prime ministers leave office – military coups or assassinations

This was not something anyone expected. It was possible, but everyone knew that.

There was panic, anger, shock and panic when news broke about the attempted assassination of Imran Khan. In April, he had made threats to kill him. It was criticized by his detractors as political theatre, a man trying to avoid his expulsion.

Mr Khan was subject to a vote de no confidence. This vote saw plenty of drama at Pakistan’s National Assembly in this spring. His reluctant departure from Prime Minister House was quickly followed by his resignation.

Sky News reported that I was watching the unfolding events. A new prime minister of Pakistan was unseated without having completed a term. At midnight, there was a surprise sitting of the Supreme Court and fears of a coup were ricocheted around. In one evening, the many layers of Pakistan’s 75-year turbulent history are displayed.


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Khan’s last interview, before being shot

A coup was avoided, Khan left and stated that he would continue his fight for justice in the streets.

A number of court cases against him , including terrorist offences and contempt of Court for alleged verbal threats made police and judicial officers in a speech, kept him busy.

Pakistani courts are used often to keep politicians from participating in politics and tie them up in bureaucratic red tape.

Learn more about Imran Khan

Mr Khan was removed from any political office for five year. The election commission of Pakistan ruled that Khan had misled officials regarding gifts he received from foreign heads while in government.

His struggle for “free and fair election” was fought through political rallies, and finally this “long march” to capital that attracted thousands. A bid by Khan to prove his popularity and to pressure the establishment to allow him back in.

Ironically, Mr Khan came to power amid claims of military support. Rumours circulated that Khan had “upset” the military over a dispute about the appointment of the next army chief.

Image Pic Urdu Media /Reuters

Two ways PMs can leave the office

It seems that Pakistan has only two options for prime ministers and their government to resign: military coups or assassinations.

Pakistan’s first prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was shot twice in the chest as he addressed a crowd of 100,000 at Company Gardens.

In October 2007, Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister and Muslim World’s first woman PM Benazir Bhatti was assassinated.

A gun-and-bomb attack killed her a few months later, in December 2007, in the same park where the country’s first prime minster was murdered. That night, I was also in Pakistan covering the news. The reaction to the attack ranged from panic to anger to shock.

Now, 15 years later, Mr Khan has finally accepted the unavoidable but unacceptable silence that great leaders in Pakistan face.

Image: Imran Khan, October in Islamabad. Pic by AP

Criticised by the extreme right

Many critics have criticized him for his appeasement of extreme rightists and spending too much time critiquing politicians from the past, but not enough time governing the country or steering it to prosperity.

He is also a national hero. He is a cricketer who became a politician. He is a hero for bringing the 1992 World Cup home. He is also a politician who stands up for justice and fights against corruption.

Meher Bano Qureshi from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tells me that “You can’t shoot Pakistan’s only hope,”

Many more have responded to Mr Khan’s call for power and the shooting of him , calling for the same thing. This time, it was anger.


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