In the latest episode of Pakistan’s political reality show, ex-PM Imran Khan got shot during the Haqiqi Azadi March. The Haqiqi Azadi March is the second version of the protest march launched by Imran Khan against the “imported government” of Shehbaz Sharif. This march was announced on October 28, 2022, by Imran Khan. Imran informed people about it through Twitter and said, “My fellow Pakistanis, tomorrow at 11 a.m., I am starting my “Haqeeqi Azadi March” from Liberty Square.” I want all of you to do the same. This march is not meant for any political purpose or personal agenda, or to topple any government in order to make up a new one. This march is meant to bring real freedom to the country. “Since Pakistan was formed when we got independence from British rule, this equally big fight is going on to get real freedom.”
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IMRAN KHAN ANNOUNCING HAQIQI AZADI MARCH
The prime objective of this march was to pressurize the Pakistani establishment (Army and ISI) to conduct an early election. The reason for the early election is that the momentum and public sentiment are at their peak in favor of Imran Khan. Imran’s narrative about the US conspiracy that toppled his government has made a strong impression on the public’s psyche. So before his narrative fades away, he wanted to exploit it at the earliest possible time in the form of elections. The Haqiqi March started in Lahore and planned to reach Islamabad on November 4 from the allotted routes, i.e., Muridke, Kamoki, Gujranwala, Daska, Sialkot, Sambrial, Wazirabad, and Rawalpindi.
GUNMAN OPEN FIRES ON EX-PAKISTAN PM IMRAN KHAN’S CONVOY
Imran was shot in his right shin when his convoy came under attack. This happened on Thursday at 4:21 p.m. local time (11:21 p.m. GMT). The attack took place in Wazirabad, nearly 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The man behind the attack is identified as Faisal Butt, who is a resident of Sialkot. Surprisingly, within hours of the attack, the shooter was arrested, and a confession video surfaced in the media. though the shooter gave his personal grievance as the main motive behind the attack. But in a country like Pakistan, such attacks always have strings attached. Even Imran Khan blamed PM Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sannaulah, and DG (C) ISI Faisal Naseer for the attack. Looking at the past record, involvement by the establishment can’t be ruled out.
CONFESSION BY SHOOTER FAISAL BUTT.
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IMRAN KHAN BLAMING SHEHBAZ SHARIF, RANA SANAULLAH AND DG(C) ISI FAISAL NASEER FOR THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
Even though the army vehemently opposed and negated all the allegations, the odds are completely against them. And it’s the army itself that’s to blame for it. In the past, it was the Pakistani army that conducted the judicial killing of PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and assassinated PM Benazir Bhutto. In Pakistan, the army is the biggest political party with absolute power and zero public mandate. Regarding the army, there is a popular proverb among the public that is, “Jung Kadi jeeti nahi, election kadi haareya nahi.” It simply means that the army never won a war but never lost an election. It’s a jab at the army for its defeats in wars against India and excessive control over domestic politics.
PROTESTS ACROSS PAKISTAN AGAINST THE ATTACK ON IMRAN KHAN
Even now, among the public, all fingers are pointed toward the army for this attack. Moreover, there are many conspiracy theories regarding this attack. Some say it was pulled up by Imran himself to boost its publicity and political image. Some say it was a warning shot by the army for Imran to know his place. Nonetheless, the truth will never see the light of day. That’s how it happens in Pakistan. Leaders get assassinated, investigations start, and commissions are set up, but nothing ever happens. But it can’t be denied that this is a turning point in the Pakistani political spectrum. And undoubtedly, this attack made Imran the tallest leader in the country and pushed the army on the back foot. And usually, whenever the army is pushed back, it means it’s time for martial law in the country. It’s because the army in Pakistan’s politics means business.
PROTEST OUTSIDE PESHAWAR CORP COMMANDER HOUSE IN PAKISTAN
But implementing martial law now won’t be a cakewalk for the army. Earlier, when the army implemented martial law under Gen. Pervez Musharraf, it had the support of the public. That’s not the scene today. As soon as the news spread about the assassination attempt, the public started protests against the army. For the first time in history, people openly hurled abuse and called army chief Gen. Bajwa a traitor in front of GHQ Rawalpindi. A clip surfaced on the net of people surrounding the Peshawar Corp Commander’s house and vandalizing public property. Imran, on the other hand, took advantage of public rage and gave the call to wage “Jihad” against the establishment. PTI leaders like Ch. Fawad Hussain were openly directing the public to take revenge and saying that the army had crossed the red line. Clips of Imran supporters capturing an army vehicle and spitting on it surfaced on social media.
PROTESTORS ABUSING PAKISTAN ARMY CHIEF GEN. BAJWA INFRONT OF ARMY HQ.
The situation became so out of control that the army and government banned Imran Khan from television and radio but later revoked it under public pressure. Several trends, like #traitorbajwa and #importedgovernment, topped Pakistan’s Twitter. This came after Imran addressed his supporters from the hospital. In the address, Imran blamed the army and government for repeating mistakes that led to the partition of Bangladesh. The Army, on the other hand, called these remarks irresponsible and incorrect.
PAKISTAN ARMY DEPLOYED ON STREETS SHAMED BY PUBLIC
Certainly, looking at the situation, many Pakistani analysts are predicting a bloody takeover by the army to suppress the movement. Under no circumstances will the army allow such an attack on its authority. Because if the army budges this time, it would completely end the army’s hold on the country once and for all. So it’s just a matter of time to see who blinks first, the army or Imran Khan. Whatever happens, it will entirely change Pakistan’s political spectrum and will be considered a turning point in Pakistan’s history.