CM Mehmood Khan’s warning intensifies the fear of a civil war in Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has announced using Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Police Force to protect the caravan from KPK if its marchers are subjected to torture by the Federal Government & the Punjab police.
Addressing a lawyers’ convention at Peshawar, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mehmood Khan said “our first long march was peaceful. Now when Imran Khan calls again, I will use the force of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we will not forgive him(Rana Sanaullah).”
The statement from Mr. Mehmood Khan comes amid heightening political tension following former PM Imran Khan’s ouster by the PDM(Pakistan Democratic Movement) alliance through a Vote of No Confidence.
Commenting on the announcement of Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, senior journalist and analyst Talat Hussain mocks, “that the announcement of the Chief Minister would bring a lot of stability to the country, applause.”
Khawar Ghuman, a senior journalist and bureau chief of a private news channel in Islamabad, said that the federal, Punjab, and Sindh governments used all available state resources to stop the PTI’s long march.
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He went on to say that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa administration was now authorizing the use of force. Ghuman prays for the security of Pakistan & says someone has to take responsibility for the situation.
What led to Mehmood Khan’s fiery statement?
Here’s a brief of the events following the PDM’s No-Confidence Motion that has stoked fear of a civil war.
No-Confidence Motion Against Imran Khan
On March 8, the PDM parties tabled a No-Confidence Motion against then Prime Minister Imran Khan with a one-point agenda against inflation. Imran Khan says inflation was a result of global supply chain disruptions.
After waiting for the OIC conference in Islamabad to end, Imran Khan waived a piece of paper in his much-anticipated rally in Islamabad on March 27. Without mentioning the name of the country, he claimed that a representative of a foreign country threatened Pakistan’s ambassador to overthrow Imran Khan’s government. He further claims that the ambassador was told Pakistan will be “forgiven” if Khan is removed but if that doesn’t happen, Pakistan will be isolated.
Misuse of Punjab Police Against PTI Workers, Leaders
Following Imran Khan’s ouster as PM of Pakistan, names of multiple PTI leaders were placed on the ECL(Exit Control List). The day after the new government took over, Arslan Khalid, the Former Focal Person to the PM on Digital Media, was subjected to a police raid. His laptops were taken away by the police & he was transferred to an unknown location.
Right before the PTI’s Haqeeqi Azadi Long March(True Independence Long March) towards Islamabad, on the night of 23 May, Punjab police raided houses harassing prominent PTI leaders & their families. An estimated number of more than 1000 houses were raided.
Before the Long March, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had claimed that Imran Khan cannot bring even 20 people if Rana does not permit it. The Shehbaz Sharif-led federal government as well as the Punjab government run by his son Hamza Shehbaz had placed barricades & containers to stop Marchers from reaching Islamabad’s D-Chowk. Containers were filled with sand to block the roads & glass was splattered on the Attock Bridge.
On the Long March day, 2 Marchers were killed by the police with one of them thrown from the bridge. 3 more were killed in a direct fire opened by Sindh police.
Women including the 72-year-old Yasmeen Rashid were also subjected to harassment by the Punjab Police. Cars were trashed with sticks by the police personnel accompanied by unknown individuals in civil clothes.
Tear gas was fired at the PTI protesters throughout the Long March. An estimated number of 35,000 tear gas shells were fired by the police. Some claims that the tear gas shells used were not normal & that the ones generally used against hardcore terrorists were fired at peaceful PTI Marchers.
Imran Khan End His 25 May Long March
On May 26, Imran Khan abruptly called off the Long March without even reaching Islamabad’s D-Chowk. The day before, Pakistan’s Supreme Court had issued an order asking the PTI to hold its gathering at the H-9 area of Islamabad.
Many say that a reference was prepared by the federal government to get Imran Khan disqualified in contempt of court proceedings had he held his rally in D-Chowk.
The reason Imran Khan presented was that the public was angry at the treatment they received from police & that further stay of the marchers could have triggered an irreversible clash with the state institutions including the Pakistan Army which was called by the Interior Minister under Article 254 for the security of Islamabad.
Contrary to the claims of journalists, Imran Khan clarified that he had not signed any deal with the government or the military establishment. He also warned the government that he will lead another march towards Islamabad if his demand for elections is not accepted.