In his battle with the army, ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan knows he has an upper hand and he intends to raise it to an unparalleled level by taking on the army full head on.
No Prime Minister in Pakistan has really taken on the powerful Army and those dared, even a whiff, either got the gallows or exile. Imran Khan has a critical advantage, a large middle class support, which he intends to exploit in the days to come and push the Generals to give him his way.
He has a second advantage–he has considerable support among the top leadership and lower rung officials in the military. This could be a tricky wicket to play. If he pushes too hard against the army, the army could clam up and so he would, in all likelihood, make his attacks specific.
Imran Khan and his party’s social media campaign against the army chief, General Qamar Bajwa and his colleagues has been an extraordinary success. It has rattled the military leadership–on how it shaped the public opinion and sparked murmurs within the army. Bajwa’s strong comments about the campaign in public is a clear pointer that Imran Khan has been able to singe the leadership if not burn.
Given that his `US conspiracy` has lost its sting, the angry former Prime Minister is going to target the military leadership with a hammer and tong. The one which is going to stick and pain is the spiralling cases of corruption among the top army leadership.
His plan includes recycling recently published accounts of massive corruption among the top military leadership. The latest one was the leaked report from Credit Suisse in October 2021, The report revealed that at least 25 retired officers of the Pakistan Army have Swiss Bank accounts and these accounts hold about billions worth of undeclared assets.
Imran Khan’s target would be former Army chiefs and ISI heads to prove his point that he was removed by the Army chief . There is enough on public record to prove that a successive line up of most famous Generals have known to pocketed billions during their tenure. General Pervez Musharraf owns over 80 properties, many of them abroad, including Dubai
and London. His successor, General Ashfaq Kayani allowed his brothers, real estate barons, to run one of the largest housing scams in Pakistan’s recent history. General Raheel Sharif, whose protege Imran Khan was, managed an allotment of 100 acres of prime land on the outskirts of Lahore. Sharif, whom Imran Khan sought out during the personal crisis, declined to help.
The next on the target list are former ISI chiefs. The Swiss Bank expose showed that one of the most prominent account holders was former ISI Chief Akhtar Abdur Rahman Khan with a Rs 15,000 crore deposit. He was a close friend of military dictator General Zia-ul Haq and was his ISI chief. His family remains one of the richest business families in Pakistan today.
Another ISI chief who made money during the Afghan war was General Asad Durrani. He was part of the ISI’s global narcotics smuggling racket and earned crores in the smuggling of opium from Afghanistan. One of his Swiss accounts held Rs 2000 crores. Lt. General Shuja Pasha, ISI chief under General Kayani, works with conglomerates in Dubai and Pakistan with wide global business interests.
There are many others whose stories have appeared but not followed up keenly by the media or anyone else. But Imran Khan and his army of trolls can make it a point to keep the people reminding how corrupt Pak Army leadership has been and keep Bajwa and company on tenterhooks. The `Crore Commanders` can be a slick hashtag.
The question is–When does the army think Imran Khan has crossed the rubicon? Like Benazir Bhutto did, and paid with her life.